A general lien is a right of one person to retain any property or goods which are in his possession belonging to another person until the promise or liability is discharged. When the bailee is entitled to retain any goods bailed to him for any amount due to him in respect of those goods or any other goods, it is called General Lien. It applies only to personal property; that is, real estate cannot be seized. It is a right to retain the property belonging to another for a general balance of an account. A general lien is available to bankers, factors, harbingers, attorneys of High Court and policy brokers. Insurance brokers, packers, stockbrokers and bankers have a general lien over the property of their clients or customers.
Example: A has two accounts in a bank. In a savings bank account, he has a credit balance of $ 500. In current account, he has an overdraft of $ 1,000. A bank can exercise the right of lien on the savings account for the amount due on the current account. It should be noted that the right of the lien will not apply to properties deposited for safe custody or for a specific purpose.
The lien represents the lien holder’s interest in the property, not ownership. General Lien exercised by Bankers, Wharfinger, factors, policy brokers, attorneys etc.