The main focus of the case is on the Bill of Exchange act. The definition and several examples of other cases concerning this act are mentioned in the case. The actual case that is mentioned is about the appeal from a decision of Judge Robotham date 18th of June 1980. The appellant, an architect, sued the bank of Nova Scotia after noticing that the bank paid out a check that is noticeable altered. The architect wants the bank to pay back the 6000 dollars that the bank deducted from their bank account plus interest and other costs.
After taking the case to the trial court the judge dismissed the bank of paying the amount of 6000 dollars and interest. The architect did not agree with this decision and took the case to the court of appeal. The decision of the court appeal was in favour of the architect. The court based its decision on section 64(1) of the Bill of Exchange Act, and decided that the bank was not holder in due course. However, the court denies the amount that the appellant sued for for damages. The court made a statement concerning the amount of damages that needs to pay.
The court states that the bank needs to pay 5 dollars to the appellant for damages. Background Information and Facts Bill of exchange (B/E, or draft, as it is sometimes called) is a written, dated, and signed instrument that contains an unconditional order from the drawer that directs the drawee to pay a definite sum of money to a payee on demand or at a specified future date. The problem occurs in this case is alleging negligence and breach of duty in the sum of $6,000 and interest together with cost.
The appellant, an architect, engaged with Barbara Hill of Barbados in assisting him in Antigua by doing specific architectural work. The appellant gave Hill an advance of $6,000 payable by check drawn on the St. John’s Antigua, branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia for work already done and to be done in the future. The parties that are involved in this case are: The architect (appellant) and the bank (defendant). There has been a legal relations established between these two parties. Facts:
- An employment contract was established between the appellant, architect, and Barbara Hill - The method of payment was determined to be a check that will be drawn by the branch of Bank Nova Scotia, St. John in Antigua. - There was some argument happened between the appellant and Barbara Hill in which the check that was given to her was altered by putting the word “Associates” - An amount of $6,000 was deducted by the Bank of Nova Scotia from the appellant’s account although it was an altered check Applicable law Section 64 of the Bills of Exchange Act:
1. Where a bill or acceptance is materially altered without the assent of all the parties liable on the bill, the bill is avoided except as against a party who has himself made, authorized, or assented to the alteration, and subsequent endorsers. Provided that, where a bill has been materially altered, but the alterations not apparent and the bill is in the hands of a holder in due course, such holder may avail himself of the bill as if it had been altered, and may enforce payment of it according to its original tenor. 2.
In particular the following alterations are material, namely any alteration of the date, the sum payable, the time of payment, the place of payment, and where a bill has been accepted generally, the addition of a place of payment without the acceptor’s assent. Problem The check of $6,000 that Barbara Hill received as payment by her employer for specific architectural work was altered on the face of it by the addition of the word “Associates”. Barbara Hill deposited the check on January 23rd at the branch of the respondent bank at Worthing, Christchurch, Barbados, to the credit of “Barbara Hill Associates”.
On January 29th the check was returned to the bank of the appellant where the $6,000 was deducted from his account. As the appellant noticed the alteration of the check, he drew the bank’s attention by letter and demanded reimbursement on the grounds that: • It was negligent in not observing the alteration in which event it should not have paid and, • It had not carried out his instructions. Reimbursement to the appellant was refused by the bank and as a consequence proceedings were instituted by the appellant.
Main Section In this specific case, at first the trial court decided in favor of the defendant, the Bank of Nova Scotia. In consequence, the architect went to the court of appeal where they decided that the decision of the trial court was wrong and that indeed the check was invalid. An inspection of check revealed that the alteration was obviously in a different handwriting from that in which the rest of the document was drawn and it should have been observed that it had undergone a change.
Moreover, the court held that the change in the check was indeed an alteration, which made the bank a holder and not a holder in due course. A holder in due course is one holding a check received for value in good faith and with no suspicion that it might be not good. Therefore, a person who takes a bill, which is irregular on the face of it, is a holder but not a holder in due course. On the question of damages, the appellant claimed that the damages he suffered was the debiting of this account with an amount payable by check drawn by him to “Barbara Hill” and not “Barbara Hill Associates”.
The decision of the court regarding this was that he did not suffer any actual damages due to the alteration because the amount and the person payable on the check did not actually change. Thus, he was awarded only a nominal sum of $5 by the court. Opinion on the final decision The case mentioned that the check was issued towards Barbara Hill before being altered to Barbara Hill and Associates. The case mentioned that the alteration was not noticed by the bank, an act of negligence according to Mair. According to the case he decides to sew the bank for the initial $6000, plus extra interest on that sum.
In our opinion we think that the court made the correct and righteous decision in the case of Mair vs. Bank. The alteration to the check should have been noticed by the bank indeed, but the alteration of the check did not lead to any significant changes in the agreement. The sum of money was not changed, nor was Mr. Mair treated unrighteous by either Barbara Hill or the bank. The only mistake the bank made was to miss the alteration concerning the name of the check, and they paid Mr. Mair a sum of 5$ for this mistake, because the mistake was not of grave importance.