Opinion No. 854
DEBTS OWING BY COMMONWEALTH
WHETHER SIGNATURE OF HOLDER OF STANDING AUTHORITY TO RECEIVE PAYMENT AMOUNTS TO VALID ACQUITTANCE OF DEBT WHERE ISSUER'S ENTITLEMENT IS LIMITED TO BEING AGENT OF CREDITOR OF COMMONWEALTH
TREASURY REGULATIONS, reg. 97
17 May 1918
The Director, Naval and Military Branch, Audit Office
The Director of the Naval and Military Branch of the Audit Office asks for an opinion on the following matter:
Mrs A.B. gave an order on Treasury Form 24 to pay the sum of £13 5s to Captain C.D.E. who had issued a standing order in favour of F.G.H. to receive all sums due by the Commonwealth to Captain E.
The question to be determined is whether, in view of the printed wording on Form 24, and Treasury Regulation 97, this Office would be acting in conformity with the law, and your decision thereon, if it accepted the signature of F.G.H. under standing authority to receive on behalf of Captain C.D.E. all sums due to him by the Commonwealth, including the sum of £1 3s 5d due to Mrs A.B. who gave by Form 24, an order to pay such sum to Captain E.
Captain E. had issued a standing order in favour of F.G.H. to receive all sums due by the Commonwealth to Captain E.
Treasury Form No. 24 is as follows:
I beg to request that you will pay to my agent . . . (whose signature appears in the margin), or, on his indorsement, to the person producing this order, the sum of . . . pounds . . . shillings and . . . pence, being the amount of my account for ...
The matter upon which advice is desired is whether the signature of F.G.H. under the standing authority may be accepted as a legal acquittance for the sum of £1 3s 5d due by the Commonwealth to Mrs B.
Reference is made by the Director to the provisions of Treasury Regulation 97 (Statutory Rules 1913, No. 334) which reads as follows:
No indorsement on or addition to any form of order or other authority shall render such form irrevocable or in any way alter its effect in substance.
I assume that the Treasury Form No. 24 in this case did not bear an indorsement from Captain E. to F.G.H., and that the claim of the latter to receive the money is based on the fact that he is the holder of a standing authority to receive all sums due by the Commonwealth to Captain E.
Upon these assumptions F.G.H. is not, in my opinion, authorised to receive payment of moneys due to Captain E. as agent for Mrs B., the standing authority given by E. to H. applying only to moneys due by the Commonwealth to E. as principal and not to him as agent of a third party.
[Vol. 15, p. 425]