This section of the book is from the "Canadian Banking Practice" book, by John T. P. Knight.
Question 120.— The amount of a cheque is expressed in figures only, both in the body of the cheque and in the margin. Has the bank a right to refuse payment of a cheque so drawn, for which there are funds?
Answer.—We cannot find that the courts have ever considered the case of a cheque drawn as above described, but the bank's rights on the point mentioned do not depend on the law, so much as on the agreement between it and its customer, which agreement is chiefly to be implied from the course of business and the custom of banks.
The courts would probably hold that such a cheque was a valid instrument, and they might further hold that the bank was bound to honour it. We think, however, that by virtue of the custom requiring customers to express the amount of cheques in words the contract of the bank to pay is conditional on the cheque being drawn in the usual way, and that it would be under no responsibility if it should decline to pay until the cheque was amended, especially if the reason for the refusal, and the fact that funds were held to meet the cheque when properly filled up, were explained to the party presenting the cheque. It could scarcely be said that a refusal for such a reason would work any injury to the customer's credit.