Liu, Guojin (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The thesis is on “Finance Leasing in International trade”. It considers the question “How well does English law recognise and encourage the use of finance leasing in equipment trade?” The discussion shows that, on the one hand, English law has recognised the financing nature of finance leasing. It sees the lessor in a finance leasing arrangement merely as a financier, who steps into a sale of equipment which might otherwise take place between the supplier and the lessee. In addition, English law recognises that there are two agreements between the parties: a sale between the supplier and the lessor and a finance lease between the lessor and the lessee. Although English law does not view the transaction as a triangular relationship, it entitles the lessee to a cause of action against the supplier in various circumstances. It also allows the lessor to exclude from liability for the quality of the asset and to secure his commercial interests in the transaction by retaining ownership of the asset. On the other hand, however, English law fails to provide solutions to some problems arising from the financing nature of the transaction. For example, it is difficult for the lessor to be completely free of responsibility for the condition of the asset, which is imposed by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. His obligation to ensure the lessee’s quiet enjoyment of the lessee is also obscure. In addition, the lessee does not have a proprietary right over the asset at law and this has led to distortion of some of the legal principles regarding ownership and property. The discussion leads to the conclusion that the law pertaining to finance leasing is on the whole satisfactory to facilitate equipment trade but reform is called for in some areas. The following suggestions are proposed to improve the use of finance leasing in the trade of equipment, both domestically and internationally. Firstly, the law should define finance leasing by providing explicit pronouncement of its financial nature and the triangular relationship. Secondly, the obligations and rights of the parties should be more specific. For example, the lessor’s responsibility for the lessee’s quiet enjoyment under the 1982 Act should be clarified as follows: “the lessor ensures that he has the right to lease the asset so that the lessee may enjoy exclusive possession of it free from disturbance by a person whose title is paramount to the lessor’s, unless the disturbance stems from actions of the lessor”. But the lessor should be excluded from all the obligations as to the condition of the asset under the Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982. The supplier should be liable to the lessee for the condition of the asset and, at his default, the lessee should be able to resort to a cause of action against him, being a third party to the supply agreement under the Contract (Third Party Rights) Act 1999. In addition, the lessee should be responsible for the payment of the total rentals irrevocably and his right over the asset should be recognised as a legal proprietary right.
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