‘Lien,’ a right to keep in possession, the movable goods belonging to another person, till the time the debt owed by that person is realized. It can be classified as the general lien and particular lien. When one party is entitled to retain the goods belonging to another party, until all the dues are discharged, is called general lien. In contrast, particular lien implies the right of retention of specific goods, until the claims related to those goods are realized.
Lien is tied with possession of goods, i.e. where there is no possession of goods, there is no lien. Hence, possession is the essence of the lien. Many think that the two types of the lien are one and the same thing, but there are slight and subtle differences between general lien and particular lien.
Content: General lien Vs Particular Lien
|Basis for Comparison||General Lien||Particular Lien|
|Meaning||General lien alludes to the right to keep possession of goods belonging to other against general balance of account.||Particular lien implies a right of the bailee to retain specific goods bailed for non-payment of amount.|
|Availability||Any goods, in respect of which the amount is due to another person.||Only against the goods, in which skill and labor is exercised.|
|Right to sale goods||No right to sale the goods.||In general, there is no right to sell goods, however, the right can be conferred to bailee in special circumstances.|
|Exercised by||Bankers, Wharfngers, factors, policy brokers, attorneys etc.||Bailee, pledgee, finder of goods, agent, partner, unpaid seller etc.|
Definition of General Lien
General Lien means the right of an individual to retain or detain as security any movable property, which belongs to someone else, against a general balance of the account, until the liability of the holder is discharged. It is described under section 171 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.
A person can waive the right of lien through a contract. It is commonly available to bankers, factors, wharfingers, high-court attorneys, etc. who keep the goods bailed to them, during the course of their profession and does not require any contract to that effect. Unless there is an express contract in this regard, no other person can retain the property of another as the security of the balance due to them.
In general lien, the property on which lien is exercised can only be retained, but cannot be sold for any payment lawfully due to him.
Definition of Particular Lien
As per section 170 of the Indian Contract Ac, 1872, the particular lien is defined as a right of a person to retain particular goods bailed to him/her as security, for non-payment of dues.
In conformity to the objective of bailment, when bailee has employed skill or labor and improved the goods bailed to him/her. He/she is entitled to consideration for his service, and if bailor denies paying the amount, then he/she can retain the goods, against remuneration.
In such a case, the bailee has right of the particular lien until he/she receives compensation for the services rendered, provided the services are provided in full within the stipulated time. Moreover, the bailee has no right to sue the bailor.
Key Differences Between General Lien and Particular Lien
The points given below describe the difference between general lien and particular lien in detail:
- General Lien can be described as the right granted to a person to retain the possession of goods belonging to another person against the general balance of the account. On the contrary, the particular lien can be understood as the right of an individual to keep specific goods bailed, until the dues relating to those goods are discharged.
- A general lien is available for any goods, in respect of which the claims are not satisfied. Conversely, the particular lien is available only against the goods in respect of which bailee has expensed skill and labor.
- General Lien is not automatic but is recognized through an agreement, whereas particular lien is automatic.
- The holder of goods has no right to sell the goods to discharge the amount unpaid, in the case of general lien. On the other hand, in the case of particular lien the bailee can not sell the goods to realize his/her debts, however, in special conditions, the right is conferred.
- General Lien is most commonly exercised by bankers, wharfingers, factors, policy brokers, attorneys, etc. As against this, the particular lien is employed by a bailee, unpaid seller, finder of goods, pledgee, partner, agent, etc.
So far, we’ve discussed all the important facts, details and differences between general lien and particular lien. The key point which differentiates these two are, a general lien can be exercised against any goods on which claims are not satisfied. Unlike particular lien which is exercised only on those items on which bailee has provided services.