ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title
Bills of Exchange
Form and Interpretation
3. Bill of exchange defined
4. Effect where different parties to a bill are the same person
5. Address to drawee
6. Certainty required as to payee
7. What bills are negotiable
8. Sum payable
9. Bill payable on demand
10. Bill payable at future time
11. Omission of date in bill payable after date
12. Antedating and postdating
13. Computation of time of payment
14. Referee in case of need
15. Optional stipulations by drawer or indorser
16. Definition and requisites of acceptance
17. Time for acceptance
18. General and qualified acceptances
19. Inchoate instruments
20. Delivery as requirement for contract on a bill
Capacity and Authority of Parties
21. Capacity of parties
22. Signature as requirement for liability
23. Forged and unauthorized signatures
24. Procuration signature
25. Signature as agent or in representative capacity
Consideration for a Bill
26. Value and holder for value
27. Accommodation bill of party
28. Holder in due course
29. Presumption as to value and good faith
Negotiation of Bills
30. Negotiation of bill
31. Manner of indorsing
32. Indorsement in blank and special indorsement
33. Restrictive indorsement
34. Conditional indorsement
35. Continuance of negotiability and negotiation of overdue or dishonoured bill
36. Negotiation of bill to party already liable thereon
37. Rights and powers of the holder
General Duties of the Holder
38. When presentment for acceptance is necessary, and delay in such presentment
39. Time for presenting the acceptance bill payable after sight
40. Rules as to presentment for acceptance, and excuses for non-presentment
41. Failure to accept within customary time
42. When bill is dishonoured by non-acceptance, and consequences thereof
43. Duties as to and consequences of qualified acceptance
44. Rules as to presentment for payment
45. When presentment for payment may be delayed or dispensed with
46. When bill is dishonoured by non-payment and consequences thereof
47. Notice of dishonour and effect of failure to give such notice
48. Rules as to notice of dishonour
49. When notice of dishonour may be delayed or dispensed with
50. Protest of bill and consequences of failure to protest
51. Duties of holder as regards acceptor
Liabilities of Parties
52. Liability of drawee
53. Liability of acceptor
54. Liability of drawer and of indorser
55. Liability of stranger signing a bill
56. Damages recoverable from parties to dishonoured bill
57. Liability of transferor by delivery
Discharge of Bill
58. Discharge by payment in due course
59. Banker paying demand draft where indorsement is forged
60. Discharge by acceptor becoming holder
61. Discharge by waiver
62. Discharge by cancellation of bill and discharge of party by cancellation of his signature
63. Effect of alteration of bill or acceptance
Acceptance and Payment for Honour, and Payment by Referee in case of need
64. Acceptance for honour supra protest, and maturity of certain bills so accepted
65. Liability of acceptor for honour
66. Presentment to acceptor for honour and referee in case of need
67. Payment for honour supra protest
68. Holder's rights if bill is lost
69. Action upon lost bill
Bill in a Set
70. Rules as to a bill in a set
Conflict of Laws
71. Rules if laws conflict
72. Application of Act to cheques
73. Presentment of cheque for payment
74. Revocation of bankers' authority
75. Consequences of failure to protest
76. General and special crossings on cheques
77. Crossing by drawer, or after issue
78. Crossing a material part of cheque
79. Duties of bankers as to crossed cheques
80. Protection to banker and drawer where cheque is crossed
81. Effect of crossing on holder
82. True owner of stolen or lost crossed cheque marked "Not Negotiable" entitled to compensation from certain subsequent possessors
83. Application of sections 76 to 82 to certain documents other than cheques
Unindorsed or Irregularly Indorsed Instruments
84. Effect of payment to or crediting of accounts by bankers of amounts of unindorsed or irregularly indorsed cheques and certain other documents
85. Rights of bankers regarding irregularly indorsed cheques
86. Effect of payment of irregularly indorsed cheques, etc.
87. Negotiability of documents referred to in sections 84, 85 and 86.
88. Promissory note defined
89. Delivery necessary
90. Joint or joint and several liability on notes
91. Time of presentment for payment of note payable on demand and indorsed
92. Presentment of note for payment
93. Liability of maker
94. Application to notes of provisions relating to bills
95. Good faith
97. Computation of time
98. When noting equivalent to protest
99. Protest when notary not accessible
100. Application of Act to dividend warrants, etc.
101. Laws that are not affected by this Act
Schedule - Form of Protest which may in terms of Section 99 be Used when the Services of a Notary Cannot be Obtained
Law 30, 1964,
L.N. 84, 1966,
Act 30, 1983,
S.I. 83, 1984
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to bills of exchange, cheques and promissory notes.
[Date of Commencement: 19th November, 1964]
Preliminary (ss 1-2)
This Act may be cited as the Bills of Exchange Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
"acceptance" means an acceptance completed by delivery or notification;
"action" includes a counter-claim and a plea of set-off;
"banker" includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not, who carry on the business of banking;
"bearer" means the person in possession of a bill which is payable to bearer;
"bill" means a bill of exchange as defined in section 3;
"cheque" means a bill drawn on a banker payable on demand;
"delivery" means actual or constructive transfer of possession from one person to another;
"holder" means the payee or indorsee of a bill who is in possession of it, or the bearer thereof;
"indorsement" means an indorsement completed by delivery;
"issue" means the first delivery of a bill, complete in form, to a person who takes it as a holder;
"legal representative", in relation to a person who is dead, means the person who in law or in customary law, whichever may be applicable, represents the estate of that person;
"non-business day" has the meaning assigned to it in section 5 of the Public Holidays Act;
"note", used as a noun, means a promissory note as defined in section 88;
"note", used as a verb, means make a notarial minute, in the usual manner, of the circumstances of dishonour of a bill, within the time prescribed by section 50(5) and (6), and includes present for acceptance or payment by a notary;
"payment in due course" means payment made at or after the maturity of a bill to the holder thereof in good faith and, if his title to the bill is defective, without notice thereo;
"value" means valuable consideration within the meaning of section 26.
Bills of Exchange (ss 3-71)
Form and Interpretation (ss 3-20)
(1) A bill of exchange is an unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand, or at a fixed or determinable future time, a sum certain in money to a specified person or his order, or to bearer.
(2) An instrument which does not comply with the requirements specified in subsection (1) or which orders any act to be done in addition to the payment of money, is not a bill.
(3) An order to pay out of a particular fund is not unconditional within the meaning of subsection (1) but an unqualified order to pay coupled with-
(a) an indication of a particular fund of which the drawee is to reimburse himself, or of a particular account to be debited with the amount;
(b) a statement of the transaction which gives rise to the bill;
(c) a statement on the bill that it is drawn against specified documents attached thereto for delivery on acceptance or on payment of the bill, as the case may be; or
(d) a statement on the bill that it is drawn under or against a specified letter of credit or other similar authority,
is unconditional within the meaning of the said subsection.
(4) A bill is not invalid by reason-
(a) that it is not dated;
(b) that it does not specify the value given, or that any value has been given therefor;
(c) that it does not specify where it is drawn or where it is payable.
(1) A bill may be drawn payable to, or to the order of, the drawer, or it may be drawn payable to, or to the order of, the drawee.
(2) Where in a bill the drawer and the drawee are the same person, or where the drawee is a fictitious person or a person not having capacity to contract, the holder may treat the instrument, at his option, either as a bill of exchange or as a promissory note.
(1) The drawee must be named or otherwise indicated in a bill with reasonable certainty.
(2) A bill may be addressed to two or more drawees, whether they are partners or not, but an order addressed to two drawees in the alternative, or to two or more drawees in succession, is not a bill of exchange.
(1) Where a bill is not payable to bearer the payee must be named or otherwise indicated therein with reasonable certainty.
(2) A bill may be made payable to two or more payees jointly, or it may be made in the alternative to one of two, or one or some of several payees.
(3) A bill may also be made payable to the holder of an office for the time being.
(4) Where the payee is a fictitious or non-existing person the bill may be treated as payable to bearer.
(1) When a bill contains words prohibiting transfer or indicating an intention that it should not be transferable, it is valid as between the parties thereto, but is not negotiable.
(2) A negotiable bill may be payable either to order or to bearer.
(3) A bill is payable to bearer which is expressed to be so payable or on which the only or last indorsement is an indorsement in blank.
(4) A bill is payable to order which is expressed to be so payable or which is expressed to be payable to a particular person, and does not contain words prohibiting transfer or indicating an intention that it should not be transferable.
(5) Where a bill either originally or by indorsement is expressed to be payable to the order of a specified person, and not to him or his order, it is nevertheless payable to him or his order at his option.
(1) The sum payable by a bill is a sum certain in money within the meaning of this Act although it is required to be paid-
(a) with interest;
(b) by stated instalments;
(c) by stated instalments, and upon default in payment of any instalment the whole becomes due by virtue of a provision to that effect in the bill; or
(d) according to an indicated rate of exchange, or according to a rate of exchange to be ascertained as directed, by the bill.
(2) Where the sum payable is expressed in words and also in figures, and there is a discrepancy between the two, the sum denoted by the words is the amount payable.
(3) Where a bill is expressed to be payable with interest, unless the instrument otherwise provides, interest runs from the date of the bill, and if it is undated, from the date of the issue thereof.
(1) A bill is payable on demand-
(a) if it is expressed to be payable on demand, or at sight, or on presentation; or
(b) if no time for payment is expressed therein.
(2) If a bill is accepted or indorsed when it is overdue, it shall, as regards the acceptor who so accepts or any indorser who so indorses it, be deemed to be a bill payable on demand.
(1) A bill is payable at a determinable future time within the meaning of this Act, if it is expressed to be payable-
(a) at the expiration of a fixed period after date or sight; or
(b) on, or at the expiration of a fixed period after, the occurrence of a specified event which is certain to happen, though the time of happening may be uncertain.
(2) An instrument expressed to be payable on a contingency is not a bill, and the happening of the event does not cure the defect.
Where a bill expressed to be payable at the expiration of a fixed period after date is issued undated, or where the acceptance of a bill, payable at the expiration of a fixed period after sight, is undated, any holder may insert therein the true date of issue or acceptance, and the bill shall be payable accordingly:
(i) where the holder in good faith and by mistake inserts a wrong date; or
(ii) every case where a wrong date is inserted and the bill subsequently comes into the hands of a holder in due course,
the bill shall not be avoided thereby, but shall operate and be payable as if the date so inserted had been the true date.
(1) Where a bill, or the acceptance of or any indorsement on a bill, is dated, the date shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be the true date of the drawing, acceptance or indorsement of the bill, as the case may be.
(2) A bill is not invalid by reason only that it is ante-dated or post-dated, or that it bears the date of a non-business day.
(1) Subject to subsection (2) , where a bill is not payable on demand, the day on which it falls due is determined as follows, namely-
(a) if the date on which the bill would fall due is a non-business day, the due date thereof shall be the next business day;
(b) where a bill is payable at the expiration of a fixed period after date, after sight, or after the happening of a specified event, the time of payment is determined by excluding the day from which the period is to begin to run, and by including the day of payment;
(c) where a bill is payable at the expiration of a fixed period after sight, the period beings to run from the date of the acceptance, if the bill is accepted, and from the date of noting or protest, if the bill is noted or protested for non-acceptance.
(2) There are no days of grace for the purpose of computing the day on which a bill falls due under this section.
(1) The drawer or any indorser of a bill may insert therein the name of a person to whom the holder may resort in case of need, that is to say, in case the bill is dishonoured by non-acceptance or non-payment.
(2) Such person is called the referee in case of need.
(3) The holder may resort to the referee in case of need or not, as he may think fit.
The drawer and any indorser of a bill may insert therein an express stipulation-
(a) negativing or limiting his own liability to the holder;
(b) waiving as regards himself some or all of the holder's duties.
(1) The acceptance of a bill is the signification by the drawee of his assent to the order of the drawer.
(2) An acceptance is invalid unless it complies with the following requirements, namely-
(a) it must be written on the bill and be signed by the drawee, the mere signature of the drawee without additional words being however sufficient;
(b) it must not stipulate that the drawee will perform his promise by any other means than the payment of money.
(1) A bill may be accepted-
(a) before it has been signed by the drawer, or while otherwise incomplete;
(b) when it is overdue, or after it has already been dishonoured by non-acceptance or non-payment.
(2) When a bill payable after sight is dishonoured by non-acceptance, and the drawee subsequently accepts it, the holder is, in the absence of any different agreement, entitled to have the bill accepted as from the date of first presentment thereof to the drawee for acceptance.
(1) An acceptance is either general or qualified.
(2) A general acceptance assents without qualification to the order of the drawer.
(3) An acceptance to pay at a particular place is a general acceptance, unless it expressly states that the bill is to be paid there only and not elsewhere.
(4) A qualified acceptance in express terms varies the effect of the bill as drawn.
(5) An acceptance is qualified if it is-
(a) a conditional acceptance, that is to say, if it makes payment by the acceptor dependent on the fulfilment of a condition therein stated;
(b) a partial acceptance, that is to say, an acceptance to pay part only of the amount for which the bill is drawn;
(c) an acceptance to pay only at a particular specified place and not elsewhere;
(d) qualified as to the time of payment;
(e) the acceptance of one or more of the drawees but not of all.
(1) Where a person places his signature upon, and affixes a stamp to, a blank paper and delivers such paper to any other person in order that it may be converted into a bill, it operates as a prima facie authority to fill it up as a complete bill for any amount such a stamp will cover, using the said signature for that of the drawer, the acceptor or an indorser.
(2) Where a bill is wanting in any material particular, the person in possession of it has in like manner a prima facie authority to fill up the omission in question in any way he thinks fit.
(3) In order that any instrument referred to in subsection (1) or (2) may, when completed, be enforceable against any person who became a party thereto prior to its completion, it must be filled up within the time agreed on or, if no time is agreed on, within a reasonable time, and strictly in accordance with the authority given:
Provided that if any such instrument after completion thereof is negotiated to a holder in due course it shall be valid an
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