The written notice taken by a grand jury of any offence, from their own knowledge or observation, without any bill of indictment laid before them at the suit of the government upon such presentment, when ‘proper, the officer emloyed to prosecute, afterwards frames a till of indictment, which is then sent to the grand jury, and they find it to be a true bill. In an extended sense presentments include not only what is properly so called, but also inquisitions of office, and indictments found by a grand jury.

The difference between a presentment and an inquisition, is this, that the former is found by a grand jury authorized to inquire of offences generally, whereas the latter is an accusation found by a jury specially returned to inquire concerning the particular offence. The writing which contains the accusation so presented by a grand jury, is also called a presentment.

In general the presentment for payment should be made to the maker of a note, or the drawee of a bill for acceptance, or to the acceptor, for payment; but a presentment made at a particular place, when pavable there, is in general sufficient. A personal demand on the drawee or acceptor is not necessary; a demand at his usual place of residence of his wife or other agent is sufficient.

When a bill or note is made payable at a particular place, a presentment, as we have seen, may be made there; but when the acceptance is general, it must be presented at the house or place of business of the acceptor.

In treating of the time for presentment, it must be considered with reference to:

  • A presentment for acceptance
  • One for payment

When the bill is payable at sight, or after sight, the presentment must be made in reasonable time; and what this reasonable time is depends upon the circumstances of each case. The presentment of a note or bill for payment ought to be made on the day it becomes due, and notice of non-payment given, otherwise the holder will lose the security of the drawer and endorsers of a bill and the endorsers of a promissory note, and in case the note or bill be payable at a particular place and the money lodged there for its payment, the holder would probably have no recourse against the maker or acceptor, if he did not present them on the day, and the money should be lost.

The excuses for not making a presentment are general or applicable to all persons, who are endorsers; or they are special and applicable to the particular’ endorser only. Among the former are:

  • Inevitable accident or overwhelming calamity.
  • The prevalence of a malignant disease, by which the ordinary operations of business are suspended.
  • The breaking out of war between the country of the maker and that of the holder
  • The occupation of the country where the note is payable or where the parties live, by a public enemy, which suspends commercial operations and intercourse.
  • The obstruction of the ordinary negotiations of trade by the vi’s maj or
  • Positive interdictions and public regulations of the state which suspend commerce and intercourse.
  • The utter impracticability of finding the maker, or ascertaining his place of residence.

Among the latter or special excuses for not making a presentment may be enumerated the following:

  • The receiving the note by the holder from the payee, or other antecedent party, too late to make a due presentment; this will be an excuse as to such party.
  • The note being an accommodation note of the maker for the benefit of the endorser.
  • A special agreement by which the endorser waives the presentment.
  • The receiving security or money by an endorser to secure himself from loss, or to pay the note at maturity. In this case, when the indemnity or money is a full security for the amount of the note or bill, no presentment is requisite.
  • The receiving the note by the holder from the endorser, as a collateral security for another debt.

A want of presentment may be waived by the party to be affected, after a full knowledge of the fact.

Presentment for Acceptance

A bill of exchange is a negotiable instrument in writing containing an unconditional order, directing a certain person to pay a certain amount only to or to the order of a certain person or to the bearer. The drawer is the person who draws the bill and presents it to the drawee for acceptance. Out of all the negotiable instruments, only bills of exchange require presentment for acceptance.

All kinds of bills of exchange do not require presentment for acceptance. Bills payable on demand or on a fixed date do not require this. However, the following bills require presentment for acceptance in the absence of which the parties to it will not be liable on it:

  • Bill payable after sight in order to fix the maturity of the bills.
  • A bill that consists of an express stipulation that presentment for acceptance is necessary before presentment for payment.

As per section 15, the presentment for acceptance shall be made to the drawee or his duly authorized agent, in case of drawee’s death to his legal representative and in case of his insolvency to his official receiver or assigner.

We shall present the bill to the following persons:

  • Drawee or his duly authorized agent.
  • In case of more than one drawee, to all the drawees.
  • In the case of drawee’s death, to his legal representative.
  • Where the drawee becomes insolvent, to his official receiver.
  • When the original drawee refuses to accept the bill, to a drawee in case of need.
  • The acceptor for honour.

The presentment for acceptance shall be done before maturity, within a reasonable time after it is drawn, on a business day during business hours at a business place or residence of the drawee.

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