Bailment describes a legal relationship in common law where physical possession of personal property, or a chattel, is transferred from one person to another person who subsequently has possession of the property. It arises when a person gives property to someone else for safekeeping, and is a cause of action independent of contract or tort.


What is ‘Bailor’

An individual who temporarily relinquishes possession but not ownership of a good or other property under a bailment. The bailor entrusts the possession of the good or property to another individual, known as the bailee. A bailment is usually a contractual agreement between the bailor and the bailee that specifies the terms and purpose of the change in possession.

Explaining ‘Bailor’

A bailor transfers possession, but not ownership, of a good to another party, known as the bailee, in the event of a bailment. While the good is in the bailee’s possession, the bailor is still the rightful owner. A bailor/bailee relationship can be illustrated in the management of investment portfolios. A bailor can designate a bailee to supervise an investment portfolio for a particular time period. While the bailee does not own the portfolio, the bailor entrusts the chosen individual to ensure that the portfolio is in good hands until such time that the bailor can or wishes to resume the duties of managing the portfolio.

Further Reading

  • Indirect rule redux: the political economy of diamond mining and its relation to the Ebola outbreak in Kono district, Sierra Leone – [PDF]
  • Synthesis of Glucopyranosyl Amides Using Polymer‐Supported Reagents – [PDF]
  • The monetary fifth column: the eurodollar threat to financial stability and economic sovereignty – [PDF]
  • Bailee's Liability for Failure to Warn Bailor of Lack of Insurance: Source of the Duty of Care – [PDF]
  • Revised CTUIR Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Final Report – [PDF]
  • The Bailor's Direct Right of Suing the Collecting Bank in the Case of International Collections——From the Perspective of the Unity of Rights and Obligations – [PDF]