Lien. This is a right given to one party to a contract to hold the property of another, as security for an obligation the other party owes the first.

The word “lien” has different meanings in different circumstances. A “common law lien” remains in existence as long as possession of the property is retained. An “equitable lien” exists independently of possession. An example of an equitable lien may be the owners’ lien on sub-freights under a time charter. A “possessory lien” is the right of a creditor to retain possession of the debtor’s property until the debt is discharged by payment. A “particular lien” is security for a particular debt but a “general lien” is security for all debts resulting from some transaction between the two parties. A “charging lien” is the right of a creditor to receive payment out of some fund established for the purpose or out of the proceeds of sale of the property in the possession of another person. Finally, a “maritime lien” has been defined in 1897 (in the case of The Ripon City) as a privileged claim upon a ship, and/or on its cargo, because of some service done to, or injury caused by, the ship and/or cargo. It is carried into effect by some legal process.


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