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Breaking Bulk

BREAKING BULK, a nautical term for the taking out of a portion of the cargo of a ship, or the beginning to unload; and used in a legal sense for taking anything out of a package or parcel, or in any way destroying its entirety. It was thus important in connexion with the subject of bailment, involving as it did the curious distinction that where a bailee received possession of goods in a box or package, and then sold them as a whole, he was guilty only of a breach of trust, but if he "broke bulk" or caused a separation of the goods, and sold a part or all, he was guilty of felony. This distinction was abolished by the Larceny Act 1861, which enacted that whoever, being a bailee of any chattel, money or valuable security, should fraudulently take or convert the same to his own use, or the use of any person other than the owner, although he should not break bulk or otherwise determine the bailment, should be guilty of larceny (s. 3).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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