Parker v British Airways Board: CA 1982

Finders Rights and Obligations Explained

The finder of a gold bracelet in an airport lounge acquired rights of possession over the bracelet as against the airport authority who occupied the lounge, but who did not intend to exert control over objects found in the lounge.
Donaldson LJ set out the rights and obligations of a finder: ‘1. The finder of a chattel acquires no rights over it unless (a) it has been abandoned or lost and (b) he takes it into his care and control.
2. The finder of a chattel acquires very limited rights over it if he takes it into his care and control with dishonest intent or in the course of trespassing.
3. Subject to the foregoing and to point 4 below, a finder of a 330 chattel, whilst not acquiring any absolute property or ownership in the chattel, acquires a right to keep it against all but the true owner or those in a position to claim through the true owner or one who can assert a prior right to keep the chattel which was subsisting at the time when the finder took the chattel into his care and control.
4. Unless otherwise agreed, any servant or agent who finds a chattel in the course of his employment or agency and not wholly incidental or collaterally there to and he takes it into his care and control does so on behalf of his employer or principal who acquires a finder’s rights to the exclusion of those of the actual finder.
5. A person having a finder’s rights has an obligation to take such measures as in all the circumstances are reasonable to acquaint the true owner of the finding and present whereabouts of the chattel and to care for it meanwhile.’
Donaldson LJ
[1982] QB 1004, [1982] 2 WLR 503, [1982] 1 All ER 834
England and Wales
Cited by:

  • Cited – Fletcher v Leicestershire Constabulary Admn 1-Nov-2013
    fletcher_leicesterAdmn2013
    The claimant had been called upon to repair an unoccupied flat damaged by fire. He found a metal box containing andpound;18,000 in cash. He took it to the police. He now resisted their assertion that this represented the proceeds of crime and should . .
    [2013] EWHC 3357 (Admin)

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 December 2020; Ref: scu.517442