Liens Law and Legal Definition

The right of lien generally arises by operation of law, but in some cases it is created by express contract.

There are two kinds of liens; particular and general. When a person claims a right to retain property, due to money or labor invested in that property, it is a particular lien.

Liens may arise in three ways:

  1. By express contract;

  2. From implied contract, as from general or particular usage of trade;
  3. By legal relation between the parties, such as created with common carriers and inn keepers. When goods are delivered to a tradesman or any other, to apply his labor to, he is entitled to detain those goods until he is paid for such labor. When goods have been saved from the perils of the sea, the salvor may detain them until his claim for salvage is satisfied.

To create a valid lien, it is essential:

  1. That the party claiming a lien should have the absolute property or ownership of the thing or, at least, a right to vest it;
  2. That the party claiming the lien should have an actual or constructive, possession, with the assent of the party against whom the claim is made;
  3. That the lien should arise upon an agreement, express or implied and not be for a limited or specific purpose that contradicts the express terms or the clear, intent of the contract.