What is a Particular Lien?
Particular lien is one in which the person has a right to retain the possession of goods for which the charges are due. Particular lien is available only to bailee against those goods in respect of which he has rendered some service involving the exercise of labour or skill.
Examples of Particular Lien
A delivered some gold to B, a goldsmith for the purpose of making ornaments. B made the ornaments. Here, B is entitled to retain the ornaments till he is paid for the services he has rendered.
A delivered a car to B, a mechanic for repair. B repaired the car. Here B can retain the car untill the repair charges are paid.
However, in the following cases, the bailee cannot exercise the right of lien:
1. If the bailee does not complete the work within the agreed time or a reasonable time,
2. If he voluntarily permits the bailor to regain the possession of the goods without payment of the charges, and
3. If he allows credit to the bailor.
Conditions to be fulfilled while exercising a Particular Lien
Before a bailee can exercise his right of particular lien, certain conditions must be fulfilled. They are as follows:
1. The bailee must have rendered some services involving the exercise of labour or skill with regard to the goods bailed. The bailee must have performed the services in full.
2. The labour or skill exercised by the bailee should have resulted in the improvement of the goods bailed. If there is no improvement, there is no lien.
3. The labour or skill must have been exercised in accordance with the object of the bailment.
4. Under a particular lien, a bailee can retain only those goods on which he exercised labour or skill. Thus a person who merely takes an animal to graze, is not entitled to a lien on it.
5. The right of lien does not accrue until the services have been performed and the remuneration has become due. However if the bailee has agreed to perform the services on credit basis, the bailee cannot exercise the right of lien until the expiry of the period of the credit.
6. Possession of goods by the bailee is essential to constitute a lien. If possession is lost, lien will disappear.
7. The bailee can exercise this lien provided there is no contract to the contrary. So if there is a contract to the contrary, the bailee has no lien on the goods bailed for outstanding remuneration for the services he has rendered in respect of them.
If all the above mentioned conditions are fulfilled, the bailee can exercise his right of particular lien till he is paid for his services.
What is a General Lien?
When the bailee is entitled to retain any goods bailed to him for any amount due to him in respect of those goods or any other goods, it is called General Lien.
Example of General Lien
K deposited certain jewels with a bank to secure certain debt. After payment of this debt, he demanded the return of these jewels from the bank. He was still indebted to the bank for certain other debts. On banks refusal to return, it was held that he could not recover unless he proved that the bank had agreed to give up its general lien.
Law provides that bailees coming within the following categories have a general lien: bankers, factors, wharfingers, attorneys of High Court and policy brokers.
Such bailees can retain all goods of the bailor so long as anything is due to them. The general lien in all these cases may not exist if there is a contract to the contrary. Bailees falling in categories other than those mentioned above may have a general lien if there is an express agreement to that effect.