LAWS101 - Finders

Cases from the Finders line - LAWS 101, University of Otago
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Moffat v Kazana
Box of money in roof - sold house, forgot about it. New owner tries to claim.
- Held that true owner always has first right to the chattel.
ANZ Bank case
Bank desk given away - forgot about money in it.
- Held bank was true owner, money belongs to them.
Gilchrist Watt & Sanderson
Obiter statement - when you gain 'possession', you must keep it safe and return it. You are a BAILEE for the true owner
Warner v Elizabeth Arden
Necklace left in changing room - she left briefly, it was stolen. Tried to say owner of shop was liable for not looking after it.
- Held that owner had not taken possession at all - therefore owed no duty to look after it
Armory v Delamire
First finders case. Chimney sweep finds jewel, jewler tries to claim.
- Held that finder has rights against all but the true owner
- Held handing in for valuation does not divest control
Bridges v Hawkesworth
Notes found on shop floor. Finder picks up, gives to shop keeper to return to owner - no one claims.
- Held finder has better right than shop owner
- Held finder has rights only if no prior rights established
South Staffordshire Water v Sharman
Cleaning out pool - found 2 rings under mud.
- Held that possession of land includes things ATTACHED OR UNDER the land. Therefore owner has right.
- Obiter - manifest intent to control land = control over things ON the land.
City of London v Appleyard
Found old safe attached to wall of basement.
- Held that things ATTACHED to building were same as attached to land.
- Safe was attached, so was everything inside it.
Hannah v Peel
Army re-positioned a house. Soldier found brooch wedged in windowsill.
- Court held occupier did not live there - so could not manifest control. Therefore finder wins, as not attached.
Helson v McKenzies
Lady leaves large amount of $ in shop. Finder gives to shop owner - who gives away to who they think is the true owner.
- Held by giving it away to wrong person, shop owners were denying original owner's title.
- However only got 1/4 of damages, as found she had contributed to negligence by leaving bag there
Grafstein
Employees found metal box - asked employer "what should i do with this"? Turned out to have lots of money.
- Held that by saying "what shall I do with this?", finder had physical control but divested mental/ intent to control item
- Employer clearly asserted control over item by telling where to put it.
Parker v British Airways
Found bracelet in executive lounge of airport, while on business trip. Handed it in, but sold by airways. Established all rules for finders cases.
- Held that continuum existed of places:
bank vault (private) -------> petrol forecourt (public)
- Held you need to manifest intent to control lost things - e.g. obviously bank vaults, but not petrol forecourts.
- Held that airways had not manifested intent to control THINGS INSIDE area, even though area was VIP.
Tamworth Industries v Attorney General
Drug money found under floor (but above soil = not attached). Area inclosed by wire fence, however maize pickers all had access.
- Therefore held not sufficient manifest intent, given so many people had access.
Parker v British Airways - employment
Held that finding had to be incidental to employment for finder to win. e.g. if airway workers who cleaned the lounge found item, would probably go to employer
McDowell v Ulster Bank
Cleaning up bank - found notes on floor.
- Held bank wins - as duty clearly imposed on employee to pick up lost property and hand it in.
Bryne v Hoare
Drive in movie - police on duty to maintain order. Finds gold ingot, noone claims.
- Held not in the course of his employment - it was incidental to employment, as wasn't employed to find things.
- Does employment give an advantage over anyone else to find it? if not, then not in course of employment
Australian case - however should be followed because rationale encourages honesty.
Steel v Tube
Found steel in factory - argued it had been abandoned.
- Held that D was employee, steel found during stocktake (clearly in course of employment) and owner manifested control over warehouse.
= employer wins
Waverly Borough Council v Fletcher
Public park, owned by council. Prohibited metal detectors, but sign had fallen down. Finder used detector, found brooch.
- Held that council owned things UNDER the land, Digging up soil was not permitted use of land, but act of trespass.
= council wins.
Hibbert v McKiernan
Private golf course, police officer on duty to warn off trespassers. Finder trespassed to find 'abandoned' golf balls.
- Held that there was clear intent to exclude trespassers, therefore occupier had prior right to golf balls.
IF TRESPASSING, RIGHTS ARE LIMITED