What is Deposit?

Legal Definition
Contracts. Usually defined to be a naked bailment of goods to be kept for the bailor, without reward, and to be returned when he shall require it. Jones' Bailm. 36, 117; 1 Bell's Com. 257. See also Dane's Abr. ch. 17, aft. 1, §3; Story on Bailm. c. 2, §41. Pothier defines it to be a contract, by which one of the contracting parties gives a thing to another to keep, who is to do so gratuitously, and obliges himself to return it when he shall be requested. Traite du Depot. See Code Civ. tit. 11, c. 1, art. 1915; Louisiana Code, tit. 13, c. 1, art. 2897.

2. Deposits, in the civil law, are divisible into two kinds; necessary and voluntary. A necessary deposit is such as arises from pressing necessity; as, for instance, in case of a fire, a shipwreck, or other overwhelming calamity; and thence it is called miserabile depositum. Louis. Code 2935. A voluntary deposit is such as arises without any such calamity, from the mere consent or agreement of the parties. Dig. lib. 16, tit. 3, §2.

3. This distinction was material in the civil law, in respect to the remedy, for in voluntary deposits @ the action was only in simplum; in the other in duplum, or two-fold, whenever the depositary was guilty of any default. The common law has made no such distinction, and, therefore, in a necessary deposit, the remedy is limited to damages co-extensive with the wrong. Jones, Bailm. 48.

4. Deposits are again divided by the civil law into simple deposits, and sequestrations; the former is when there is but one party depositor (of whatever number composed), having a common interest; the latter is where there are two or more depositors, having each a different and adverse interest. See Sequestration.

5. These distinctions give rise to very different considerations in point of responsibility and rights. Hitherto they do not seem to have been incorporated in the common law; though if cases should arise, the principles applicable to them would scarcely fail of receiving general approbation, at least, so far as they affect the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Cases of judicial sequestration and deposits, especially in courts of chancery and admiralty, may hereafter require the subject to be fully investigated. At present, there have been few cases in which it has been necessary to consider upon whom the loss should fall when the property has perished in the custody of the law. Story on Bailm. §41-46.

6. There is another class of deposits noticed by Pothier, and called by him irregular deposits. This arises when a party having a sum of money which he doe's not think safe in his own hands; confides it to another, who is to return him, not the same money , but a like sum when he shall demand it. Poth. Traite du Depot, ch. 3, §3. The usual deposit made by a person dealing with a bank is of this nature. The depositor, in such case, becomes merely a creditor of the depositary for the money or other thing which he binds himself to return.

7. This species of deposit is also called an improper deposit, to distinguish it from one that is regular and proper, and which latter is sometimes called a special deposit. 1 Bell's Com. 257-8. See 4 Blackf. R. 395.

8. There is a kind of deposit which may, for distinction's sake, be called a quasi deposit, which is governed, by the same general rule as common deposits. It is when a party comes lawfully to the possession of another person's property by finding. Under such circumstances, the finder seems bound to the same reasonable care of it as any voluntary depositary ex contractu. Doct. & Stu. Dial. 2, ch. 38; Story on Bailm. §85; and see Bac. Abr. Bailm. D. See further, on the subject of deposits, Louis. Code, tit. 13; Bac. Abr. Bailment; Digest, depositi vel contra; Code, lib. 4, tit. 34; Inst. lib. 3, tit. 15, §3; Nov. 73 and 78; Domat, liv. 1, tit. 7, et tom. 2, liv. 3, tit. 1, s. 5, n. 26; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1053, et seq.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A naked bailment of goods to be kept for the depositor without reward, and to be returned when he shall require it Jones, Bailm. 36, 117; National Bank v. Washington County Bank, 5 Hun (N. Y.) 607; Payne v. Gardiner, 29 N. Y. 167; Montgomery v. Evans, 8 Ga. 180; Rozelle v. Rhodes, 116 Pa. 329, 9 Atl. 160, 2 Am. St Rep. 591; In re Patterson, 18 Him (N. Y.) 222. A bailment of goods to be kept by the bailee without reward, and delivered according to the object or purpose of the original trust Story, Bailm. § 41. A deposit, in general, is an act by which a person receives the property of another, binding himself to preserve it and return it in kind. Civ. Code La. art. 2926. When chattels are delivered by one person to another to keep for the use of the bailor, It is called a "deposit." Co.de Ga. 1882, § 2103. The word is also sometimes used to designate money lodged with a person as an earnest or security for the performance of some contract, to be forfeited lf the depositor fails in his undertaking. Classification. According to the classification of the civil law, deposits are of the following several sorts:

(1) Necessary, made upon some sudden emergency, and from some pressing necessity ; as, for instance, in case of a fire, a shipwreck, or other overwhelming calamity, when property is confided to any person whom the depositor may meet without proper opportunity for reflection or choice, and thence it is called "miserabile depositum."

(2) Voluntary, which arises from the mere consent and agreement of the parties. Civ. Co.de La. art. 2964 ; Dig. 16, 3, 2; Story, Bailm. § 44. The common law has made no such division. There is another class of deposits called "involuntary," which may be without the assent or even knowledge of the depositor; as lumber, etc., left upon another's land by the subsidence of a flood. The civilians again divide deposits Into "simple deposits," made by one or more persons having a common interest, and "sequestrations," made by one or more persons, cach of whom has a different and adverse 'interest in controversy touching It; and these last are of two sorts, "conventional," or such as are made by the mere agreement of the parties without any judicial act; and "judicial," or such as are made by order of a court in the course of some proceeding. Civ. Code La. art. 2979. There ls another class of deposits called "irregular," as when a person, having a sum of money which he does not think safe in his own hands, confides it to another, who ls to return to him, not the same money, but a like sum when he shall demand it. Poth. du Depot 82, 83; Story, Bailm. § 84. A regular deposit is a strict or special deposit; a deposit which must be returned in specie; i. e., the thing deposited must be returned. A quasi deposit is a kind of implied or involuntary deposit, which takes place where a party comes lawfully to the possession of another person's property, by finding it Story, Bailm. § 85. Particularly with reference to money, deposits are also classed as general or special. A general deposit is where the money deposited ls not itself to be returned, but an equivalent in money (that ls, a like sum) Is to be returned. It Is equivalent to a loan, and the money deposited becomes the property of the depositary. Insurance Co., v. Landers, 43 Ala. 138. A special deposit ls a deposit in which the identical thing deposited is to be returned to the depositor. The particular object of thls kind of deposit is safe-keeping. Koetting v. State, 88 Wis. 502, 60 N. W. 822. In banking law, this kind of deposit is contrasted with a "general" deposit, as above; but in the civil law it is the antithesis of an "irregular" deposit. A gratuitous or naked deposit is a bailment of goods to be kept for the depositor without hire or reward on either side, or one for which the depositary receives no consideration beyond the mere possession of the thing deposited. Civ. Code Ga. 1895, § 2921; Civ. Code Cal. § 1844. Properly and originally, all deposits are of this description; for according to the Roman law, a bailment of goods for which hire or a price is to be paid, is not called "depositum" but "locatio." If the owner of the property pays for its custody or care, it is a "locatio custodiae;" if, on the other hand, the bailee pays for the use of it, it is "locatio rei." (See Locatio.) But in the modern law of those states which have been influenced by the Roman jurisprudence, a gratuitous or naked deposit is distinguished from a "deposit for hire," in which the bailee is to be paid for his services in keeping the article. Civ. Code Cal. 1903, § 1851; Civ. Code Ga. 1895, § 2921. In banking law. The act of placing or lodging money in the custody of a bank or banker, for safety or convenience, to be withdrawn at the will of the depositor or under rules and regulations agreed on; also the money so deposited. General and special deposits. Deposits of money in a bank are either general or special. A general deposit (the ordinary form) is one which is to be repaid on demand, in whole or In part as called foe, in any current money, not the same pieces of money deposited. In this case, the title to the money deposited passes to the bank, which becomes debtor to the depositor for the amount. A special deposit is one in which the depositor is entitled to the refum of the identical thing deposited (gold, bullion, securities, etc.) and the title to the property remains in him, the deposit being usually made only for purposes of safe-keeping. Shipman v. State Bank, 59 Hun. 621, 13 N. Y. Supp. 475; State v. Clark, 4 Ind. 315 ; Brahm v. Adkins, 77 111. 263; Marine Bank v. Fulton Bank, 2 Wall. 252,17 L. Ed. 785. There is also a specific deposit, which exists where money or property is given to a bank for some specific and particular purpose, as a note for collection, money to pay a particular note, or property for some other specific purpose. Officer v. Officer, 120 Iowa, 389, 94 N W. 947, 98 Am. St. Rep. 365.
See also
  • Deposit account
  • Deposit company
  • Deposit of title-deeds
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A gratuitous bailment.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary