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Leighams Law ???


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Hi All


I've just had my neighbour ask me if I know of the above subject law.

It may be spelt wrong but what it is to do with is roughly this..


A relative of my neighbour is self employed and in the construction industry. During the course of his work his 'employer' needs to use a mini excavator which he owns, but can only transport it with the help and use of my neighbours relatives flat bed truck. The relative also stores it for the employer for security at his home location which is more secure than the building site.


The relative has done work for some months for this 'employer' but has not been paid yet.


Question... can the relative hold on to the digger until payment for the work done is recieved. There is no question as to if the work done is satisfactory as the 'employer' is still giving the relative work.


This is were the 'Leighams Law' came into mention. It was believed that some old law allowed you to use an item, as long as it was not stollen, as a bargaining tool until full payment is received.


Maybe barking up the wrong tree, but if anyone can help he would be very grateful.


Thanks in advance



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Not sure where Leigham comes into it but I think you're talking about a general lien. If he's actively pursuing the debt then a lien can arise, but the fact that he's still working for the debtor does complicate matters, particularly if he wants any further work. Whether or not a lien would arise would depend on the specifics of the agreement between them, terms for payment, whether payment is being pursued, when payment was due etc...

If in doubt read the



If still in doubt - ask!

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This is not case where you could exercise a lien. In most cases you cant hold onto property just because there is debt, unless the debt relates to that property. If he was owed money for fixing the digger, then it would apply. As such if the owner wants it back he would have to let him collect it. But until the owner asks for it back he can hold onto it as a bargaining tool.

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