Bailee Law and Legal Definition

A bailee is a person who receives possession of a property or goods through a contract of bailment. Unlike a contract of sale, the bailee has to return the goods or property to the bailor, under a contract of bailment. A bailee is responsible for the safekeeping and return of the property to the bailor or otherwise disposing it off according to the contract of bailment. A bailee is also referred to as a custodian. The bailee owes a duty of care towards the property or the goods of the bailor, when the bailee is in possession of the property. Generally, a bailment is for the exclusive benefit of the bailee. A bailee must have actual physical control of the goods or property and an intention to possess it, in order to create a bailment. However, a bailee has no power to make contracts on behalf of the bailor. A bailee cannot make a bailor liable for his/her own acts. The bailee is responsible for the safekeeping of the property or the goods so transferred. Leaving goods in a sealed and rented box will not amount to bailment, and the holder is not a bailee since he cannot manage or control the goods.