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Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Section 13: Electronic paying in of cheques etc.

152.Section 13 inserts a new Part 4A into the Bills of Exchange Act 1882, replacing the existing alternative method of presenting cheques for payment at sections 74B and 74C of the 1882 Act (which are repealed by subsection (4)).

153.In new section 89A of the 1882 Act, subsection (1) provides that a relevant paper payment instrument may be presented by providing an electronic image of the front and back of the instrument.

154.Subsections (3) and (4) enable the Treasury to make regulations to restrict the circumstances in which presentment by image is permissible.

155.Subsections (4) to (6) remove existing requirements that apply to the presentment of a cheque or other instrument that would be inconsistent with presentment in an electronic system, such as the exhibition, presentment and delivery of the paper instrument itself, and a particular place and time of presentment.

156.Subsection (7) ensures that the duties of the bankers involved in presentment and payment are the same as they would be if the paper instrument were presented.

157.New section 89B describes the types of payment instrument that may be presented under section 89A. Key requirements are that the instrument is one which enables a person to obtain payment from a banker, that it is an instrument that must be presented for payment, and that it could not otherwise be presented electronically.

158.New section 89C provides that the new method of presentment is not available where a bank imposes terms on a customer which require the customer to provide an image of the instrument for paying in, and prevent the customer from providing the instrument itself to the bank.

159.New Section 89D enables HMT to make regulations requiring a bank which pays a cheque or similar instrument to provide a copy of the instrument to the paying customer on request, and providing that this copy stands as evidence that the sum payable has been received.

160.In new section 89E, subsection (1) enables the Treasury to make regulations allowing claims for compensation for certain types of loss arising out of electronic presentment of an instrument to be made against the bank which is responsible for collecting the funds on behalf of the customer (that also being, in almost all circumstances, the bank which is responsible for the decision about how and by whom the electronic image is created). The regulations may also cover situations where there is no proper presentment, for example where there is no valid underlying instrument or the instrument did not qualify for electronic presentment. Such regulations could, for example, provide for a claim by the drawer of a cheque or the bank that paid the cheque where the payment was made to the wrong account because of a defect in the image, or where the image had been created fraudulently. Subsection (5) enables the regulations to provide for strict liability, and for the liability to be reduced by the contributory negligence of the claimant. Subsection (6) ensures that if a bank has to pay compensation under the regulations, it is not prevented from making a claim against another party for a contribution towards the compensation.

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