LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN.docx-...
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
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LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN.docx-Don Lye 17...
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
LAWCOMM 442 - Personal Property LN....
LAWCOMM_442_-_Personal_Property_LN.docx-Don Lye 171346040 LAWPUBL 442: PERSONAL
Page 37
Don Lye
“On the facts here, the notes were found in a wooden box within a safe built into the wall
of the old building. It seems to me to be clear that the safe, in those circumstances,
formed part of the demised premises. If so, Yorkwin or Venture, being in lawful possession
of the premises, were in de facto possession of the safe, even though they were ignorant
of its existence.”
“In my judgment, the notes having been found within the safe, which itself formed part of
the demised premises, the party in possession of the premises, whether it be Venture or
Yorkwin, had, in the absence of any evidence as to the true ownership of the notes, a
better title thereto than the finders.”
Ignoring the contractual point – employees found the safe on behalf of the employer – the
employer is treated as finder. The parties entitled to possession would have a superior
claim to the finder.

Page 38
Don Lye
Webb v Ireland
[1988] IR 353 (Ireland Supreme Court)
Plaintiffs went onto private land located near ancient abbey.
Did not have permission to do so but the public tended to go onto this land to the abby which
was an item of historical interest.
Had metal detectors and found a horde of artefacts. Exposure to the air could damage them.
They took the items to the solicitor and they suggested they send them to the Museum of
Father and son were finders – solicitor gives them a letter to accompany goods to the museum.
Finlay CJ
“The first issue which falls to be determined on this appeal, from a logical point of view, is
the question as to whether, assuming that the hoard was received by the National
Museum as agent for the State in the capacity of a bailee, there must be an implied term
in that bailment that the plaintiffs as bailors had a good title to the goods.”
“I have come to the conclusion that on the facts of this case there cannot be implied into
the arrangements between the plaintiffs and the defendant, surrounding the deposit of the
hoard with the Museum, any term establishing a title in the plaintiffs to the hoard.”
“The terms under which the hoard was deposited are clearly set out in the letter
written by the solicitors for the plaintiff which was brought to the director of the
Museum at the same time as the articles were. The reference in that letter, which I
have already quoted in full, to "deliver these articles to your care for the present
pending determination of the legal ownership
" ( emphasis added) is, in my
opinion, wholly inconsistent with implying into any bailment arising from that
delivery an acknowledgment or admission of the plaintiffs' title to the goods.”
“Whilst, therefore, I would accept as a general proposition of law that bailment
involves an implied term as to the title of the bailor of the goods, it can only do so
to the extent and in the instances where such an implied term is not by the express
terms of the bailment excluded.
“I am satisfied that this case is one in which such an implied term is by the express
terms of the letter excluded from the bailment.”

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