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Market Overt

sale, shop, conviction, person, stolen, held and time

MARKET OVERT has been defined tt.s "an open, public., and legally constituted market," and to such a market is attached that most convenient old rule of the common law now adopted by the SALE OF GOODS (q.v.) Act, that a bona fide buyer therein of any goods and chattels other than horses, who has no notice of any defect in the vendor's title, thereby acquires a good and perfect title to his purchase. Market overt in the country is only held on the special days provided for particular towns by charter or prescription; but in London every day, except Sunday, is a market day. In the country a market overt is possible only when the market is held in the prescribed place for the sale of particular goods. But in London every shop in which goods are publicly exposed for sale is a market overt, though only for such things as the shopkeeper professes to deal in. The proper place for a sale of gold plate, for example, would not be a grocer's shop. And it is only a shop that can thus be a market overt, for where a sale took place in a show-room above a shop, access to which was obtainable only by special permission, it was- held, in Hargreave v. Spinle, that the transaction was not a sale in niarket overt. Nor is a sale at a wharf, or to a pawnbroker at his shop a sale in market overt. It would appear, too, from the old Cam of Market Overt, that a sale in a shop must be such that any one who stands or passes by the shop can witness the transaction. "If the sale be in the shop of a goldsmith, either behind a hanging or behind a cupboard upon which the plate stands, so that one who stood or passes by the shop could liot see it," there would not be a sale in market overt. Nor would there be in the case of a sale by sample, where the bulk is not exposed in the shop. Where a shop contains an outer room and an inner room, the sale in the inner room is not one in market overt. The necessity for a clear idea as to a market overt is very obvious when it is remembered, as stated at the beginning of this article, that a bona fide purchaser in market overt obtains a good title to the goods he has bought. It follows, therefore, that if stolen or fraudulently-obtained goods are sold and bawl fide bought in market overt the true owner cannot bring an action against the purchaser for their recovery. But to this rule

there is the most important modification contained in the Sale of Goods Act, in cases of larceny of goods. It is that where goods have been stolen and the offender is prosecuted to conviction, then, notwithstanding any intermediate dealing with them whether by market overt or otherwise, the property in the goods so stolen reverts in their owner. The latter can then proceed for their recovery ; or the judge, after convicting the offender, can order the person then in possession of the goods to forthwith restore them to their owner. The person who thus has to give up the goods cannot make any claim upon the owner for their keep. Goods obtained by fraud, such as false pretences, or any other wrongful means not amounting to larceny, do not come within the above modification to the rule. Nor, indeed, does that modification extend to Scotland. It should be noted, however, that the owner of goods which have been stolen from him has no claim against any one who may have fairly purchased them in market overt, and sold them again, even after notice of the theft but before the conviction of the thief. This was decided in Honcood v. Smith, where all the judges expressly held that the notice of the theft given to the defendant between the time of his purchase and the conviction made no difference. The reason for the decision would seem to be that during the interval between the theft and the conviction, the owner ship of the goods remained in doubt. If the goods had remained in the defendant's possession at the time of the conviction, that would have altered the case. " But," said Lord Kenyon, " he had the good fortune to get rid of them before that time, and another person was substituted in his room. . . . The plaintiff has a right to the restitution of the goods in specie, and perhaps would be entitled to recover damages in hover against any person who is fixed with the goods after conviction and refuses to deliver them ; for then the goods are converted to the prejudice of the owner."