INDORSEMENT, crin. law, practice. When a warrant for the arrest of a person charged with a crime has been issued by a justice of the peace of one county, which is to be executed in another county, it is necessary in some states, as in Pennsylvania, that it should be indorsed by a justice of the county where it is to be executed: this indorsement is called backing. (q. v.) INDORSEMENT, contracts. In its most general acceptation, it is what is written on the back of an instrument of writing, and which has relation to it; as, for example, a receipt or acquittance on a bond; an assignment on a promissory note.
2. Writing one's name on the back of a bill of exchange, or a promissory note payable to order, is what is usually called, an indorsement. It will be convenient to consider, 1. The form of an indorsement; and, 2. Its effect.
3. - 1. An indorsement is in full, or in blank. In full, when mention is made of the name of the indorsee; and in blank, when the name of the indorsee is not mentioned. Chitty on Bills, 170; 13 Serg. & Rawle, 315. A blank indorsement is made by writing the name of the indorser on the back; a writing or assignment on the face of the note or bill would, however, be considered to have the force and effect of an indorsement. 16 East, R. 12. when an indorsement has been made in blank any after attempt to restrain the negotiability of the bill will be unavailing. 1 E.N. P. C. 180; 1 Bl. Rep. 295; Ham. on Parties 104.
4. Indorsements may also be restrictive conditional, or qualified. A restrictive indorsement may restrain the negotiability of a bill, by using express words to that effect, as by indorsing it "payable to J. S. only," or by using other words clearly demonstrating his intention to do so. Dougl. 637. The indorser may also make his indorsement conditional, and if the condition be not performed, it will be invalid. 4 Taunt. Rep. 30. A qualified indorsement is one which passes the property in the bill to the indorsee, but is made without responsibility to the indorser; 7 Taunt. R. 160; the words commonly used are, sans recours, without recourse. Chit. on Bills, 179; 3 Mass. 225; 12 Mass. 14, 15.
5. - 2. The effects of a regular indorsement may be considered, 1. As between the indorser and the indorsee. 2. Between the indorser and the acceptor. And, 3. Between the indorser and future parties to the bill.
6. - 1. An indorsment is sometimes an original engagement;as, when a man draws a bill payable to his own order, and indorses it; mostly, however, it operates as an assignment, as when the bill is perfect, and the payee indorses it over to a third person. As an assignment, it carries with it all the rights which the indorsee had, with a guaranty of the solvency of the debtor. This guaranty is, nevertheless, upon condition that the holder will use due diligence in making a demand of payment from the acceptor, and give notice of non-acceptance or non-payment. 13 Serg. Rawle, 311.
7.-2. As between the indorsee and the acceptor, the indorsement has the effect of giving to the former all the rights which the indorser had against the acceptor, and all other parties liable on the bill, and it is unnecessary that the acceptor or other party should signify his consent or knowledge of the indorsement; and if made before the bill is paid, it conveys all these rights without any set-off, as between the antecedent parties. Being thus fully invested with all the rights in the bill, the indorsee may himself indorse it to another when he becomes responsible to all future patties as an indorser, as the others were to him.
8. - 3. The indorser becomes responsible by that act to all persons who may afterwards become party to the bill. Vide Chitty on Bills, ch. 4; 3 Kent, Com. 58; Vin. Abr. Indorsement; Com. Dig. Fait, E 2; 13 Serg. & Rawle, 311; Merl. R«pert. mot Endossement Pard. Droit Com. 344-357; 7 Verm. 356; 2 Dana, R. 90; 3 Dana, R. 407; 8 Wend. 600; 4 Verm. 11; 5 Harr. & John. 115; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.