A 'bailment' is a non-ownership transfer of possession. Under English Common Law, the right to possess a thing is separate and distinct from owning the thing. In some jurisdictions, an owner of an object can steal his own property, a curious result of the distinction. In context, an owner who lends someone else an article, then secretly takes it back, can be stealing.
When a bailment is created, the article is said to have been 'bailed'. One who delivers the article is the bailor. One who receives a 'bailed' article is the bailee.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A legal relationship in which one party (bailor) leaves personal property in the possession, and under the temporary control, of another (bailee). Common examples include leaving a car in a parking garage, lodging a pet at a kennel, or storing household goods in a storage center. While most bailments are considered "bailments for hire" (in which the bailee is paid), there is also "constructive bailment" when the circumstances create an obligation upon the bailee to protect the goods, and "gratuitous bailment" in which there is no payment, but the bailee is still responsible, such as when a finder of a lost diamond ring places it with a custodian pending finding the owner.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:11 pm