Question 205.— A bank refuses to put an acceptance stamp over its ledger-keeper's initials certifying cheques and bills domiciled with it. (1) Is there any way in which we could compel them to do so, and (2) are we justified in accepting these cheques and bills as certified?

Answer.—A bank cannot be compelled to accept or certify cheques or bills, and therefore cannot be compelled to mark them in any way. Their legal obligation is simply to pay the money on demand, if the customer has placed them in funds for the purpose. The marking of cheques is a practice which has grown up as a matter of convenience between banks. We think that the ledger-keeper's initials are binding upon the bank, as a representation on its part that it holds the funds, but the extent to which its obligation goes has not yet been determined. If a formal acceptance stamp is put on the cheque by the proper officer, we are inclined to think that it makes the bank an acceptor under the ordinary rules respecting bills of exchange.

(2) If you are satisfied that the initials are those of the ledger-keeper of the bank, we think you are justified in accepting such a certification.