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    I'm new to the student room forums, i've been meaning to join for a while but generally anything i've wanted to ask has been asked already.

    Anyway - I have a bit of a problem:
    Recently i just cashed a cheque for £30 from an ex friend.
    He gave me the cheque as he wanted to write a cheque, then loosely said this can be for your new-years party (which never happened in the end).
    Since this happened, we've fallen out - badly and i found the cheque and cashed it.
    He said that he's getting the police involved.

    To me this sounds over the top, if he had just asked for it, i would have given it back to him but because he did say about getting the police involved i was wondering what legal entitlement a cheque gives the bearer and what conditions must be met for the cheque to still be legal?

    I'm going to give him his money back, but what grounds would he have against me? - I didn't steal from him, as he gave it to me.

    Any thoughts?
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    I don't think the police will do anything. He is being ridiculous and he gave the cheque to you so you haven't done anything wrong as far as I can tell.
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    (Original post by Dark-Audio)
    I'm new to the student room forums, i've been meaning to join for a while but generally anything i've wanted to ask has been asked already.

    Anyway - I have a bit of a problem:
    Recently i just cashed a cheque for £30 from an ex friend.
    He gave me the cheque as he wanted to write a cheque, then loosely said this can be for your new-years party (which never happened in the end).
    Since this happened, we've fallen out - badly and i found the cheque and cashed it.
    He said that he's getting the police involved.

    To me this sounds over the top, if he had just asked for it, i would have given it back to him but because he did say about getting the police involved i was wondering what legal entitlement a cheque gives the bearer and what conditions must be met for the cheque to still be legal?

    I'm going to give him his money back, but what grounds would he have against me? - I didn't steal from him, as he gave it to me.

    Any thoughts?
    I'm not convinced you're totally in the clear. However, until the police come knocking, you probably don't need to worry too much.

    It's difficult to know from what you've written whether he gave you the cheque with the intention of giving you money. If he did, then you're fine.

    If he just wrote out a cheque and left it with you with the understanding that unless you had a New Year's Eve party then you weren't to cash it then you may well have stolen his money.

    If he left a signed cheque with you that you then wrote your name on and cashed it, you have almost certainly committed fraud.

    The aspect of your story that makes the least sense is 'He gave me the cheque as he wanted to write a cheque.' Why didn't he just destroy the cheque after he'd had the fun of writing it out?

    Very few people on this forum (myself included) are qualified to give you advice. However, you could just approach him and give the £30 back. It doesn't sound like you have a very good claim to it.
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    Ah, well thank-you for the clarification.

    The original intention was for him to just write a cheque, 'for-fun'. Which afterwards he then added, it could be as a contribution to the new-years party (which never happened in the end due to the flu!).

    I'm going to give him the money back as the hassle isn't really worth it over £30, but as he gave me the cheque port event as a contribution, am I in the wrong for cashing it?

    I know that this thread may seem pointless, but I'm quite interested in the legal sides of 'issues' .
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    Well, the legal issues are pretty straightforward. If he gave you money as a contribution to something, whether as a cheque or not, and that something never happens, then there has been a "total failure of consideration" on your side and he is entitled to his money back under the doctrine of restitution. That is a civil law remedy, the police wouldn't get involved.

    However, cashing the cheque is a criminal offence if you have "dishonestly appropriated property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it", which is the definition of theft. That sounds like what you've done, and so the police could in theory prosecute you.

    "Appropriation" can be by holding on to money, so once you knew it was dishonest and you had no intention of giving it back, it would be theft.

    "Dishonesty" is found through the "Ghosh test" from R v Ghosh - "1. Was the act one that an ordinary decent person would consider to be dishonest? If so : 2. Must the accused have realised that what he was doing was, by those standards, dishonest?". In other words the jury (or magistrate in this case) would put themselves in your shoes and decide whether you must have known that holding on to the money would be wrong by the standards of ordinary decent people (whether or not it was wrong by your own standards).
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    A cheque is a promise to pay (conceptually, notes are based on the same idea: look at a tenner and you'll see "I promise to pay the bearer on demand ten pounds"). They are self-standing regardless of the underlying facts: for example, if I write you a cheque for £100 to settle a claim you made against me, and I dishonour that cheque, I am liable for £100 regardless of the merit or otherwise of your claim. Even though it looks like there was an understanding that you wouldn't cash the cheque, I don't really see how that understanding could be enforceable or binding.

    I'm not seeing the crime. In any event, I don't see how anything could be proved - how would a prosecutor go about proving the circumstances under which you got given the cheque? He was the one that gave you a cheque, after all. I wouldn't be worried.
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    ...hence the reason why cheques aren't going to exist for much longer.
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    (Original post by ap3456)
    Well, the legal issues are pretty straightforward. If he gave you money as a contribution to something, whether as a cheque or not, and that something never happens, then there has been a "total failure of consideration" on your side and he is entitled to his money back under the doctrine of restitution. That is a civil law remedy, the police wouldn't get involved.
    It isn't contractual

    However, cashing the cheque is a criminal offence if you have "dishonestly appropriated property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it", which is the definition of theft. That sounds like what you've done, and so the police could in theory prosecute you.

    "Appropriation" can be by holding on to money, so once you knew it was dishonest and you had no intention of giving it back, it would be theft.

    "Dishonesty" is found through the "Ghosh test" from R v Ghosh - "1. Was the act one that an ordinary decent person would consider to be dishonest? If so : 2. Must the accused have realised that what he was doing was, by those standards, dishonest?". In other words the jury (or magistrate in this case) would put themselves in your shoes and decide whether you must have known that holding on to the money would be wrong by the standards of ordinary decent people (whether or not it was wrong by your own standards).
    All nonsense - the cheque was made out to the payee so there is no appropriation. If he had cashed a cheque made out to someone else then there would be a dishonest appropriation of property. It is more likely, however, the charge would be a fraud rather than a theft.

    The cheque giver had the opportunity to instruct the bank not to honour it should it be presented and failed to do so - where then is the theft?
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    (Original post by oOHollyOo)
    I don't think the police will do anything. He is being ridiculous and he gave the cheque to you so you haven't done anything wrong as far as I can tell.
    I agree. I dont think the police will do anything about it anyway.
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    (Original post by Ethereal)
    It isn't contractual



    All nonsense - the cheque was made out to the payee so there is no appropriation. If he had cashed a cheque made out to someone else then there would be a dishonest appropriation of property. It is more likely, however, the charge would be a fraud rather than a theft.

    The cheque giver had the opportunity to instruct the bank not to honour it should it be presented and failed to do so - where then is the theft?
    Re contractual - there's a promise to pay for a part of a party. Provided you rebut the balfour v balfour predumption it can be argued there is a contract and indeed a subsequent total failure of consideration.

    There is also, arguably, a theft. The appropriation is of the chose in action when the cheque is presented. Its dishonest because there never was a party. The chose belongs to the ex friend and there is clearly intention to permanently deprive.
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    (Original post by resipsaloq)
    Re contractual - there's a promise to pay for a part of a party. Provided you rebut the balfour v balfour predumption it can be argued there is a contract and indeed a subsequent total failure of consideration.
    The OP stated the cheque was handed over and then the friend said "this can be for your new year's party". Promise to pay came before any condition that the money was to be put towards a party. Also, if the payment didn't induce a party to be planned etc how is this anything other than a gift?

    There is also, arguably, a theft. The appropriation is of the chose in action when the cheque is presented. Its dishonest because there never was a party. The chose belongs to the ex friend and there is clearly intention to permanently deprive.
    As above.
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    What were the facts?

    the ex friend wrote a cheque for what seems to be the "fun" of writing a cheque

    If this how the ex friend gets his jollies, fair enough, but does he know that the cheque will be cashed?

    He tells the OP that he can actually use the £30 for the a planned party. This would suggest that the point when the cheque was written there was probably no intention for the cheque to be cashed, it was more just some strange joke which subsequently turned into a serious proposition.

    The party doesn't happen and the OP and the other party fall out.

    THEN the OP cashes the cheque.

    From the chronology above, it is when the ex friend states writes the cheque he does not intend it to actually be cashed but then as an afterthought says its okay for the OP to cash the cheque and use it for the specific party purpose.

    The OP doesn't do this and cashes the cheque after a point when relations with the other party had gone sour.

    If, as presented above, the cheque was originally written as a joke, then it was decided it could actually be used for a purpose, but the OP doesn't use it for that purpose --> his retention of the money is surely dishonest

    He ought to have returned the cheque when he knew the party wasn't going to happen That he didn't could arguably be presented as a continuous appropriation of money belonging to someone else and his ultimate cashing of the cheque reflects a dishonest intention to permanently deprive.

    That's what i can gleam from the facts.

    To be honest i don't know why you are cashing a cheque you clearly weren't retain possession of.
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    (Original post by Ethereal)
    The OP stated the cheque was handed over and then the friend said "this can be for your new year's party". Promise to pay came before any condition that the money was to be put towards a party. Also, if the payment didn't induce a party to be planned etc how is this anything other than a gift?



    As above.
    Take your point about the contract, although another way of looking at it is there was no gift. The friend writes out the cheque 'for a joke' (no gift) and then the contract is formed for the part of the party and it's at that point there is a promise to pay. Before that the cheque does not exist as a promise to pay but merely as a joke. Of course, since a cheque is in itself a promise to pay, it can be argued either way.

    I think you're on shakier ground when it comes to criminal law

    It doesn't matter whether the cheque itself was acquired legitimately if there's a dishonest appropriation of the chose in action (the bank balance) at the time the cheque is presented. On the facts, there has been no party (the NYE party is referred to in the past tense) and OP knows they are not entitled to the money (the chose) when they present the cheque. They're not intending to give the money back.

    You've got dishonest appropriation of another's property with intent to permanently deprive. There's a theft.
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    I still suspect the lack of party doesn't make for dishonesty.
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    (Original post by Ethereal)
    I still suspect the lack of party doesn't make for dishonesty.
    It doesn't have to. If he knows he's not entitled to the money when he presents the cheque then that's dishonest.
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    But that is predicated on the entitlement being to do with a promise to have the party - the friend hasn't told him not to present the cheque
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    These are the facts:

    "He gave me the cheque as he wanted to write a cheque, then loosely said this can be for your new-years party (which never happened in the end)...The original intention was for him to just write a cheque, 'for-fun'. Which afterwards he then added, it could be as a contribution to the new-years party (which never happened in the end due to the flu!)."

    I think it's quite clear that he knows he's not entitled to the money once the party didn't happen. An ordinary person would consider what he's done to be dishonest and he himself suspects it may be dishonest. The Ghosh test is satisfied.
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    Still not convinced. I enjoy debating with you though :p:
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    (Original post by Ethereal)
    Still not convinced. I enjoy debating with you though :p:
    Thanks . Looks like OP should hope that you're on his jury.
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    Wow! :eek: There's been a lot of information here, thanks!

    I do intend to pay him back, as soon as he asked I set about it, just waiting to see if it will bounce then write him a cheque back (just in case else I'll end up giving him £60).

    Just to add - At the same time of this cheque writing session, he wrote me a cheque for £100,000 postdated to 2080 (which I knew would be useless then - I'm guessing...) and another friend a cheque for about £130 for 2020. At this time there was a breif conversation;

    "Do you think if we fell out you'd still cash them?" - Him
    "Yeah (laughed)" - Me
    "Fair enough (he laughs)" - Him

    Sorry I keep adding bits to this, but it's fun seeing what you have to say on this!
 
 
 
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