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action, assignment and chose

MOSES in action and in word chose means " thing," and a thing may be either in the possession of its owner, or out of his pos session. A sum of money actually in the possession of its owner is a chose in possession ; but when that money is deposited in a bank, or lent to another person, the money itself goes out of the possession of the owner, who then only has a right to its possession—time money so on deposit or lent would be called a chose in action. Shares, patents, copyrights, consols, stocks, and debts may be given as examples of choses in action.

This class of property is capable of absolute assignment by writing under the hand of the assignor ; but in order to make the assignment effective express notice thereof in writing must be given to the debtor, trustee, or other person from whom the assignor would have been entitled to claim the chose in action the subject of the assignment. Without such notice there is no effective assignment, and the assignee has no legal or other remedies in respect of the chose intended to be assigned. There is a form of assignment of debts under the heading BOOK DEBTS, and the reader should note the necessity for notice to the debtor therein pointed out. At common law

choses in action were not capable of assignment, the above provision there for being introduced by the Judicature Act of 1873 ; but this Act reserves to the debtor, or other person liable in respect of a chose in action, any rights or claims he might have against the assignor, and allows him to set them off against any claim made upon him by the assignee under the assign ment. If, therefore, a debtor has a defence or a set-off, or cross claim, or counter claim against his creditor, he may set it up against any claim made upon him by his creditor's assignee.

All that part of a bankrupt's property which consists of choses in action will pass to his trustee without assignment. Except debts due or growing due to the bankrupt in the course of his trade or business, his choses in action are not within the ORDER AND DISPOSITION (q.v.) clause of the Bankruptcy Act.