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FOREIGN BILLS OF EXCHANGE, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
FOREIGN BILLS OF EXCHANGE
IMPORTANT PAPER BY MR BRASCH. Until to-dav we have been unable to find space for the paper on 'Foreign Bills of Exchange' read by Mr H. Brasch before the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Accountants' Society on the 9th inst. Mr Brasch had a training in accountancy before studying for the Bar, so he knows the subject from both sides. His paper is as follows : Bills of exchange, as you douht-less are aware, have an ancient and honorable lineage. They were commonly in use in the Mediterranean in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, while the first promieeery note would be hardly less hoary in its jirtiquity. For several centuries these useful documents played such an important part" in the commerce of England that it is no wonder the law at an early date took cognisance of them. In the interests of trade and of pnblic convenience the mercantile customs of exchange were adopted as settled law. and the wages relating to them became incorporated into what is by jnrne writers described as the law merchant. The law merchant, however, like the fomnum or unwritten law, was dependent upon judicial decisions, and f ram its very nature subject to disconcerting variations, I bo that within comparatively recent years it was doubtless thought advisable to crystallise and epresses the usages relatingto negotiable instruments, with their qnaint expressions and incidents, into statutory form, as we now know them in the Bills of Exchange Act. Nevertheless, the Act declares that the rules of common law, including the law merchant, save in so far as thev are inconsistent with the express provisions of the Act, shall continue to apply to bills. Now, in regard to most affairs, the customs of trade in one countrv viv frequently v«*ry from thp customs, of trade in other countries, but hill* of exchange and promissory notes of necessity have long enjoyed a favored international recognition, so that the law respecting them may be declared to be not iht- law of a. single country, but that of the whole commercial world. Some differences, however, thouch in «ffect of minor importance, d;> exist in different countries, consequently a bill or promissory note in the course of its currency and travels may become subject to systems of law varying in certain respects. " Mv purpose this evening is to consider n-.it "the law of any one or more of the foreign countries with which we are hrought into touch commercially- but '.he extent of the recognition which our law gives, to the laws of other countries, in which aft made any of the various contracts constituting a- bill of exchange, also tl.e special requirements of oat inw for l>reserving and recording the rights of -übjects of such other c'u'intsies on such negotiable instruments. —Definition of Foreign Hill.— A foreign bill is defined in New Zealand I< inflation by describing an inland bill and declaring that any other bill is a foreign hill. In order, therefore, to fi:id out what •i foreign bill is we must Mint consider an inland bill. An "inland bill" is declared to bo one that is. or on the face of it purports to he: —(a) Both drawn „<.nd payable in any of the Australasian colonies: or (b) drawn in any of the Australasian, colonies upon some person resident therein. Any other bill is a foreign bill. Unless the contrary appears on the face of the bill the holder mar treat it as ail inland bill. An inland promissory note is one that is or on the face of it purports to he both made and payable in New Zealand. Any other note is a foreign note. Now let us consider the words of these statutory enactments. It is clear from the above provisions that .'here are two considerations in determin,ng whether car not a bill is foreign:— il) Origin; (2Uhe place of payment, or the residence of the drawee. As to No. 1 [origin): —A foreign origin makes a foreign bill or note. If no foreign origin appears' on the face a holder may treat it as an inland document. But there is this difference between a bill and a promissory note: that an inland bill may originate in any of the Australasian colonics, wfcfie an inland note can originate only in New Zealand. It is usual, as yon are aware, but not necessary to state on the face of a document the place of origin. iJoTV as "to iCo. 2 (th.o place o£ paymeni or the residence ot the drawee): —The maker of a note commonly indicates on its face where it is to be payable, but it is not usual for the drawer of a bill to do this. He may, however, do so, and may even make it payable alternatively in ono ■ >r two places. If the place of payment is a foreign place the document is a foreign document. If the person upon whom a bill is drawn resides in a foreign place the same effect follows. If on the face of it -.ho place of origin and of payment or of :he residence of the drawee do not appear k» be outside the Australasian colonies in :he ea6e of a bill, or if the place of origin :uid of payment do not appear to be outside New Zealand in the case of a promissory note the holder is entitled to take ihe document at its face indication withsut any deeper inquiries, and treat it as an inland document. Having arrived at an idea of what a foreign bill or note is. it now remains to consider in what respects our law regards such a document differently from an inland document. Perhaps the main difference i» that a foreign bill must be protested on dishonor to preserve the rights of the parties thereto. This formality is not needed in the case of dishonor of an inland bill. The question of protesting forms the greater part of my subject, so before entering upon it I wish to deal shortly with the principles under which our Courts recognise the laws of other countries in which have been made any of the various :-<intracts constituting a bill of exchange. Henceforth, may I say, I intend that the word "bill" shall include "promissory note," unless special mention be made. —Conflict of Laws.— The general principle of our law- is that the vaSdity ox any contract, as regards requisites of form, ia determined by the law of the place where the contract is made, or, in law Latin, " lex loci contractus." For instance, if a contract for the sale of goods be made, say, in France and an action thereon be brought in our courts, the Court will have to be satisfied that the form of the contract is good according to French law, and in this way recognises and enforces the French law. It will be apparent, however, that the usefulness of negotiable instruments as means of international exchange would be seriously discounted if everyone had :o be either acquainted with the law of every country or had to rL-k the peril of flaws in form arising from the laws of those countries. To meet this our Statute first declares the .general international rule that when a bill drawn in one country is negotiated, accepted, or payable in another, the validity of the "instrument, as regards form, is to bo determined by the law of ihe place of issue, and that the supervening contracts, such as acceptance, or Indorsement, or acceptance supra protest, Jls regards requisites in form are likewise in each case determinable by the law of the place where the contract, in made, and then lays down the following important exceptions : (1) That if an instrument issued in New Zealand conform aa regards requisites in Form to the law of New Zealand, it may For the purpose of enforcing payment thereof be treated as valid between all persons who hold or negotiate or become parties to it in New Zealand. (2) That an instrument issued out of New Zealand is not invalid by reason only that it is not stamped in accordance with the law of the country where it was issued. The place of issue referred to a few lines before has been interpreted to mean the place, not necessarily where the bill Is signed, but where it is first delivered sonrplete in form to a person who takes it m a holder. Tb» foregoing deals with the form. We now come to interpretation. The general rala is that the interpretation of the diawliyL. indnmnntmtii acceptance, gr §c-
ceptance supra protest of a bill, is determinable by the law of the place where such contract is made. The exception is that where an inland bill is indorsed in a foreign country the indorsement shall, as regards the payer. |be interpreted according to the law of New Zealand. It must bo noted that the above ex- | ceptions .apply solely as regards the payer I or for the purpose of enforcing payment between persons who hold a bill or become parties to it in New Zealand, and would not extend to enable a holder to recover against some other party in another country, even in Australia, unless the transaction which took place there conformed to its laws. The 'general rule applying to all contracts, as we have seen, is that they are to bo interpreted according to the law of the place where they are made. There is, however, one important exception : That, where the parties in one country contemplate that a contraot is to be performed in a different country, the law of that country applies. Accordingly it has been held that, as regards the acceptor or payer of a bill, if he stipulate for payment "in England, it is an entirely 'English, transaction wherever the bill is issued, and if it be given, for instance, to cover a gambling transaction (which would be a valid consideration in France), it will be held invalid in England as given for an illegal consideration under English law. and our law is the same as the English law. Again, where a bill was accepted in Paris but payable in London, interest was chargeable at the English rate because the contract to pay was to be carried out in England. On similar principles it is enacted by our Jaw that where a bill is drawn 'out of but payable in New Zealand, and the sum payable is not expressed in the currency of New Zealand, the amount shall, in tho absence of some express stipulation, he calculated according to the rate of exchange for sight drafts at the place of payment on the day when tho bill is payable. Again, where a bill is drawn in one country payable in another, the due date is determined according to the law of the place whero it is payable. The question as to whether the law nf this country or the law of some other country applies is rather intricate and interesting, as will be apparent from the foregoing and the following few examples. Where n bill is transferred abroad, and different persons claim it, the validity of the transfer and the title of the holder is a question for the law of the country where the transfer was made. The duties of the holder with respect to presentation for acceptance or payment, and (in case of dishonor) tho necessity for or the sufficiency of a protest or notice of dishonor or otherwise are subjects for decision by the law of the country where the act is done or the bill is dishonored. Again, -where a drawee of a bill has been discharged on bankruptcy in one country, he cannot be sued on that bill in England. Nevertheless a statute of limitation in another conntry does not discharge a party to a bill if an action thereon is properly maintained in New Zealand ; that i.% if the debt is not thereby extinguished but merely the remedy barred. Where a bill with an endorsement forged in Austria was sent to England for collection the question of the effect of the forgery on the holders title was held to be a question of Austrian law and not of English law. In this country a holder has the option whether or not to apply to a '* referee in case of need," nevertheless, if the drawer or any endorser reside in a foreign country, and it is desired to make him liable, it is prudent for the holder to apply to the "referee in twsp of need" unless he has satisfied himself that the law of that country does not make such application a condition precedent to recovery. In another way our law recognises the usages of other countries, and that is in relation to endorsements. Here endcisements must be written on the bill or on an allonge, but it is provided by *ur Act that an endorsement written on a "copy" of a bill issued or negotiated in a country where "copies" are recognised shall be deemed to be written on the bill itself. An allonge is a slip attached to the bill in cases where endorsements have tal.»n up the whole of the back of the bill. It is interesting to note that in some countries the last writing on a bill and tho first on the allonge must be. part of Lhr one endorsement, and that in somo otKr countries every endorsement must recite the consideration given. —Protest.— And now I come to the feature attending foreign bills most generally familiar. I refer to the requirements of protest. For business men who have to handle foreign documents these requirements transcend in importance and interest all tho other law on the subject. A protest affords satisfactory proof of dishonor to the drawer or any endorser residing abroad who might have difficulty in making proper enquiries, while the protest itself, bearing a notary's seal, is accepted as the best evidence in foreign courts, in the same way as a protest under the seal of a foreign notaryis accepted as evidence in our" courts. Tho laws of practically all foreign countries, excepting America, render protest essential in case of dishonor of any note or bill, whether inland or foreign, and it is for the sake of uniformity that by our law a foreign bill must be protested. As regards inland bills and notes, notice of dishonor is the substitute for protest. As regards foreign bills, notice of dishonor is supplemental to protest. Our law enacts that whero a foreign bill, appearing on its face to be such, has been dishonored for non-ac-ceptance it must he duly protested for non-acceptance, and where such a bill, not having been previously dishonored for non-acceptance, is dishonored by nonpayment, it must be duly protested for non-payment, otherwise the drawer and endorsers are discharged. It is well to emphasise the serious consequences of failure to protest in strict conformity with the law—the drawer and endorsers are no longer liable to the holder, but the drawee or acceptor, if any, is not discharged, as it is his default that causes the trouble. A bill that has been protested for non-acceptance may be subsequently protested for non-payment, but where a bill does not appear on ths face of it to be a foreign bill, protest thereof, as in the case of dishonor, is unnecessary. A foreign bill -which has been accepted as to part of the amount must be protested as to the balance, and it would seem that tho holder has not, as in the case of an inland bill, the option of refusing to take a partial acceptance, and treating the bill as dishonored for non-acceptance. AVe have already seen that it is not necessary to protest an inland bill in order to preserve the holder's recourse against the acceptor, drawer ,or endorsers in New Zealand, and it may be remarked further that no protest is required in New Zealand when a P.N., even a foreign one, is dishonored. In an important matter, however, it may be advisable to protest even an inland instrument, as a notary is not only an expert in the requirements of the law, but his testimony and bis minute on the instrument are likely to be the best evidence in case of litigation, while, if it is desired to charge a party in a foreign country on either an inland bill or an inland" note or a foreign note, then it is advisable to protest as well for non-pay-ment as for non-acceptance. Although not necessary to protest an inland bill to preserve the holder's it may be necessary to protest if it is desired to have the bill accepted for honor-suffra-protest, or if it is desired to have it presented for payment to the acceptor for honor, or to a referee in case of need. In both cases noting alone is sufficient as a preliminary. A protest has been defined as " a solemn declaration, on behalf of the holder of a bill, against loss sustainable by nonacceptance or non-payment," and - it operates as an official record of dishonor. The word "protest" in this connection does not bear its everyday signification "to assert earnestly," "to asseverate." A glance at its derivation will help us. It comes from the Latin " pro testis * (before a witness), and implies something done before a witness, therefore formally [ or fiohynnlXe
Ifc must be made and signed by a notary public—a person whose office is recognised in the courts of every civilised nation, and who by the law of nations has credit everywhere. His act is always solemnised by "the affixing of his seal of office. In practice the word " protest" has a wider meaning, and includes the noting and demand ; in short, all the steps necessary to fix the liability on dishonor. In order to effect a protest the usual first step is to "note" the bill. The notary makes a full copy of it in his register. Then at a reasonable hour of the day on which it was dishonored ho or his clerk proceeds to present it a second time for acceptance or payment to the drawee or acceptor, as the. case may be, and to make a formal demand on him. On refusal the notary on the same day notes the bill by writing a minute on its face This minute consists of his initials, the dato of dishonor, the noting charges, and a reference to his register. A ticket or label is also attached to the bill, on which is written the answer given upon presentation, as '• No orders,' or "No effects." This answer also is entered in the notary's register, with a note or minute of the transaction initialled by the clerk. The noting of a bill is, in fact, an incipient protest, but it is intended to be merely the preliminary to the formal declaration or protest. Protesting is usually a more expensive affair than noting, and in practice is postponed until there is no longer any hope of obtaining acceptance or payment, as the case may be. Protest may be performed or " extended " at any time after the noting, to take effect from the date of noting, even in case of dishonor, >at or after the commencement of trial of an action on the instrument. The protest is always dated as of the true date of dishonor, and noting though it may not be drawn up till some time after. It is well to remember that the noting in eaao of dishonor must be effected on the day of dishonor. A protest must be signed by a notary (invariably it is sealed as well), and must contain the following particulars;—A copy of the bill, the name of the person at whose request it is protested, the place and date of protest, the cause or reason for protesting, the demand made, the answer given (if any) or the tact that the drawee or acceptor could not be found. There is no prescribed or special form of protest ; notaries use their own traditional forms. Where an instrument is lost or destroyed or is wrongly detained from the person entitled to hold" it, protest may bo made on a copy or on written particulars thereof. For this the copy of the bill entered in the notary's registrar may prove invaluable for re'ference. Sometimes a protest is made out in duplicate, in which case the second copy is as good evidence as the first. No witness is required to attest a protest by a notary. Protests require a duty stamp, and the stamp must bo cancelled" by the notary. In most foreigu countries it i.» necessary to send to the party whom it is proposed to charge notice of the protest and a copy of it. This wa6 the law in England at one time, but it is not now necessary, for purposes of action here, to send a copy of protest or even to state in the notice of dishonor that the bill has beeu protested. Nevertheless, .a memorandum or note of the -protest should be sent with notice of dishonor to any party residing abroad. The fact that a bill has been protested does not excuse notice of dishonor being given, but protest is dispensed with by any circumstances that would dispense with notice of dishonor. For instance, a drawer who could not reasonably expect the drawee to honor the bill is not entitled to notice. It has also been held that a promise to pay constitutes waiver of protest and notice. Delay in noting or protest is excused when the delay is caused by circumstances beyond the control of the holder and not imputable to his default, misconduct, or negligence. When the cause of delay ceases to operate, the bill must be noted or protested with reasonable diligence. Ono case is reported where a foreign bill was payable in Paris, and the protest should have been made on a day which happened to bo a fete day. The registry was closed, and on the following day, owing to pressure of business at the registry, the notary was unable to complete the formalities. Delay Mas excused. This present deplorable war will mo*t probably cause excusable delay in protesting. We know from tho papers that England proclaimed a quasi-moratorium or law deferring the maturity of bills then current. It has been held that 6uch a proclamation excuses presentation o£ a. bill, as, indeed, does the delay in communication incident to war. Tho word "moratorium," by the way, is derived from the Latin verb " morari" (to delay), which quite explains the signification of the word as used. Perhaps the best example of a moratorium prior to the, existing one was that promulgated by edict of the Emperor Napoleon on August 13, 1870, at the time of tho. FrancoGerman War'. Tho following are its terms and a brief sketch of the history of tho extension of negotiable instruments at that time: Edict of 13th August, 1870, by Emperor Napoleon : " The time within which protest and all other act* required to preserve the right of action on negotiable instruments (signed before the promulgation of the present law) must be effected is prolonged for a month. Payments cannot be demanded or the endorsers or other persons bound thereby within that time." On September 10 the Government of the National Defence (Napoleon having ceased to reign) promulgated a law prolonging the delay ior tho further period of one month. Similar enactments were passed from.month to month, and tho time was extended altogether to 13th .March, 1871 (that, is, seven months from the first proclamation). On February 19, 1871, the war had come to an end. On 10th March, 1871, the National Assembly passed a law enacting among other tilings that bills which nad become due between 13th August and 12th November, 1870. should be payable at the expiration of seven months from their due dates. At the end of March a revolution broke out in Paris, and payment of bills was further extended, but eventually the moratorium ceased to be effective on July 11, 1871, after having been in operation for 11 months. A bill must be protected at the place where it is dishonored. But when it is presented through the post office and returned by post dishonored it may be protested at the place to which it is returned, and on the day of i its return, if received during business hours—if not—then not later than the next business day. 1 understand that presentation through the post office ia not authorised by local usage here. Where a bill drawn payable at the place of business or residence of some other person other than the drawee has been dishonored by non-acceptance, it must be protested for non-payment at the place where it is expressed "to be payable, and no further presentment for payment to or demand on the drawee is necessary. The provision that a bill must- be protested at the place where it ii? dishonored might appear to be embarrassing if that place should happen to be a small town boasting no notary public. But the legislature has provided specially tliat where the services of a noiary cannot bo obtained at the place of dishonor, any householder or substantial resident of tho place may, in the presence of two witnesses, give a certificate, signed by them, attesting the dishonor of the bill, and the.certificate shall in all respects operate as if it. wero a formal protest of the bill. A form is provided in the Statute. In foreign places British Consul* and consular agents may do notarial acts. Where the acceptor of a bill becomes I bankrupt or insolvent, or suspends payI ment before it matures, the holder may protest the bill for better security against the drawer and indorser*. There- does not seem to be any advantage in thie, beyond having the circumstances placed on record, excepting that it enables the bill to be accepted for honor, otherwise there could not be two acceptances on the same bill. In any case, the paity must wait till the bill falls due before he can suo on it, and the protest for better security will not excuse a subsequent protest for nonpayment if the bill be not met at- maturity. Expenses of protesting for better security are net recoverable as are expenses,of protesting fox dishonor.
—Damages.— There is a further distinction between foreign bills and inland bills in regard to the amount of damages recoverable by tho holder when a bill is dishonored. The law on the point is as follows: —Where a bill is dishonored, tho measuro of damages, which shall be deemed to be liquidated damages, shall be as follows : —-The holder may recover from any party liable on the bill, and the drawer who has been compelled to pay the bill may recover from the acceptor, and an indorser who has been compelled to pay the bill may recover from tho acceptor or from the drawer, or from a prior indorser: (1) The amount of the bill; (2) interest thereon from the time of presentment for payment if the bill is payable? on demand, and from the maturity of the bill in any other case; (3) the expenses of noting, or, when protest is necessary and the protest has been extended, the expenses of protest. Now the point is that protest is only necessary in the case of foreign bills appearing on their face to be such, so that expenses of protest are recoverable on dishonored foreign bills, but not on inland bills. Expenses of noting, it would appear, are recoverable even in the case of inland bills. If a drawee or acceptor, ifter noting or protest, decides to honor the bill he must pay the liolder the cost of noting or protest. Again, where a bill has been dishonored abroad our law provides that, in lieu of the amount of the bill, with interest and expenses, a holder may recover the amount of the re-exchange, with interest thereon, until payment. In spite of the use of the word " may," it has been decided that these damages—i.e., re-ex-change, with interest (and expenses, of course), are the only damages recoverable in the case of a bill dishonored abroad ; that is to say, the holder cannot at his option claim for the amount he, gave for the bill in New Zealand instead of the recx change. T'hi6 question of re-exchange is interesting, and it is worth quoting the judgment of Mr Justice Byles in an action by a holder of a bill payable in A r ienna against the English endorser. (Suse v. Pompe, 1860. 8 CB. (XS), 538):—"The holders are entitled to receive a certain number of Austrian florins in A'ienna on the day when the bill is at maturity. They have, in fact, bought from the endorser so many Austrian florins to bo received in Arienna on that day. It should seem to follow that on non-payment by the drawee the holders are entitled, as against the endorser, to so much English money as would have enabled them in A'ienna, on that day to purchase as many Austrian florins as they ought to have received from the drawee, and further _to the expenses necessary to obtain them. Ihe most obvious and direct mode of obtaining that English money is to draw in Vienna on the indorser in England a bill at sight for as much English money as will purchase the required number of Austrian florins at the actual rate of exchange on the day of dishonor, and to include in the amount of that bill the interest and necessary expenses of tho transaction. This bill for re-exchange, being negotiated at Vienna, puts into the pocket of the holders at the proper time and placo the exact sum which they ought to have received from the drawee. On this bill for the reexchange the holders, of course, have not at A'ienna the acceptance of tho endorser on whom it is drawn, but hold as their security the original bill with the endorser's endorsement thereon. If the endorser pays the re-exchange bill he has fulfilled his engagement of indemnity ; if not, the holders sue him on the original bill, and will bo entitled to recover in that action what the endorser ought to have paid—i.e., the amount of the reexchange bill. Although in British practice the re-exchango bill is seldom drawn, yet the theory of the transaction is as we have described it, and settles the principle on which the damages are to be computed, although no re-exchange bill be in fact drawn." Where, however, a fixed rate is allowed as damages by the law of the country where tho instrument is dishonored, such damages may be recovered here. —Bills in Sets.— Another feature peculiar to foreign bills is that they are frequently drawn in a '• set" of usually three parts or copies, each part being signed by the drawer. AVhere each part is numbered and contains a referenco to the other parts, tho whole of the parts constitute one bill. The object of the " set" is to avoid loss or delays and tho inconveniences which . might otherwise arise therefrom if the bill ' consisted of a single part. Tho bolder usually receives all the parts, and transmits each separately by a different conveyance. An endorsee may send ono part for acceptance, and keep the others meanwhile. Each part should contain a condition that it will be payable only so long as tho others are unpaid. A holder who negotiates a bill drawn in a " set " is bound to deliver up all parts in his possession. A\ r here a holder of a set endorses two or more parts to different persons ho is liable on every such part, and every endorser subsequent to him is liable on the part he himself has endorsed, as if tho said parts were separate bills. But where two or more parts are negotiated to different holders in duo courso the holder whoso title first accrues is, as between such holders, deemed to be the owner of the bill. Tho true owner, possibly, may be entitled to recover the other parts even from the holders of them in duo course, but in any case the rights of a person who, in due course, accepts or pays the part first presented to him aro safeguarded. Tho drawco may write his acceptance on any part, and must do so on one part only, otherwise, if two or more accepted parts get into the hands of different holders, in due course he is liable on every such .part, as if it wero a separate bill. The acceptor of a bill should, on paying it, insist on having delivered to him the paTt he has written his acceptance on, for if at maturity that part is outstanding in the hands of a holder, in duo course the acceptor is liable to pay agsin to the holder of it.. Subject to the preceding provisions, however, where one part of a bill drawn in a set i? discharged by payment or otherwise, the whole bill is discharged. The above provisions as to "'sets'' do not apply to p.n.'s. Duty Stamp.';.—There is no distinction here between foreign hills and inland bills as logarde stomp duty. AA'here a bill is drawn in a set, however, such duty is to ho affixed to each bill of the set as. will make up the >.vnc duty as if a single bill wero drawn for the amount. A duty .stamp has to be affixed and cancelled by the notary to every protest for dishonor. AVe have referred to one of the effects upon bills which may arise out of a state ot war—i.e., a moratorium. It may not bo amiss, in conclusion, to touch lightly on the effect of war on foreign bills as contracts. In British countries all contracts between British subjects and the subjects of tho enemy made after the declaration of war are vitiated, and the performance of existing contracts is suspended. An .alien enemy cannot be prevented from drawing bills on a British subject, but our law can and does declare that the acceptance of them by a British subject is void and renders him liable to severe penalties. Even if an enemy endorse a bill to a neutral or to a British subject who is aware of the state of war, such endorsement gives no olaim against a British acceptor. | However, it seems that an alien enemy may during war acquiro a title, by endorse- ! ment, to an existing bill, on which he may sue when peace is restored. TbeTe is one exception, however, to the stringent rules against contracting with the enemy. It is made in favor of British prisoners of war detained in an enemy's country, who, by reason of necessity, aro permitted to draw bills for their subsistence and endorse them to an enemy, who may recover upon, them when war is ended or "may tramsfer them by endorsement. It is interesting to note that, although the Crown (apart from any statutory powers which may be given) may confiscate the property* of an alien enemy, its rights do not extend to the confiscation of negotiable instruments, despite the fact that payment of them is prohibited while the war continues.
FOREIGN BILLS OF EXCHANGE, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
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