Question 516.— Can a cheque be protested for non-payment before three o'clock on the day of presentation ?

Answer.—A formal protest of a bill or cheque cannot be effected before 3 o'clock; see section 51 Bills of Exchange Act. The presentment by the notary may, however, be made at any time during the day. If, for instance, a notary presented a cheque at the bank immediately after 10 o'clock in the morning and it was refused, it would be a valid protest if he were simply to hold the item in his hands, without taking any further steps, until after 3 o'clock, and then protest it without further presentation. Such a course would be very inconsiderate, but we are only dealing with the legal aspect.

It must be borne in mind that (except, perhaps, in the Province of Quebec) a protest is a matter of no great importance; it is useful only as an evidence that the bill has been presented and dishonoured, and that notices of dishonour have been sent to the parties. Evidence of any kind is just as effective.