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in civil law, an obligation that arises on the basis of a contract or by force of law for one party (the bailee) to keep property for a second party (the bailor) and to return the property on demand in the condition in which it was received. In pre-revolutionary Russia, the contract of bailment was called the poklazha (deposit), and the two parties were called the po-klazhedatel’ (depositor) and poklazheprinimatel’ (deposit recipient, or custodian).
In the USSR the contract of bailment is regulated by special rules and by the civil codes of the Union republics—for example, Articles 422–433 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR. Parties to the contract may be citizens or socialist organizations. If the parties are citizens and the value of the property exceeds 100 rubles, the contract must be concluded in writing. Bailment is without recompense unless otherwise provided by law or contract. The bailee does not have the right to use the property entrusted to him unless otherwise specified by contract.
In case of loss of property, the bailee is obligated to reimburse the bailor for the full value of the property; in case of damage, the bailee must pay the amount by which the value has been decreased. Organizations established in part or in full to provide services of bailment—such as pawnshops, checkrooms, hotels, and refrigerated storehouses—bear increased responsibility. They are responsible not only for intentional loss of or damage to property but also for accidental loss or damage; they are freed from responsibility only in cases of force majeure.