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in the Scots law of contract, the right for A not to pay money due to B under a contract until damages due by B to A under the same contract are ascertained. Thus, a claim for freight may be opposed by a claim for damage done to the goods in transit. In bankruptcy or liquidation, a party who is facing an illiquid claim may retain in respect of an illiquid sum owed to him by the bankrupt and it is not necessary that the debts should arise out of the same contract.

In the law of Sale of Goods 1979, where the property in goods has not passed to the buyer, the unpaid seller has a right to withhold delivery similar to and co-extensive with his rights of lien or retention and stoppage in transit where the property has passed to the buyer.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

RETENTION, Scottish law. The right which the possessor of a movable has, of holding the same until he shall be satisfied for his claim either against such movable or the owner of it; a lien.
     2. The right of retention is of two kinds, namely, special or general. 1. Special retention is the right of withholding or retaining property of goods which are in one's possession under a contract, till indemnified for the labor or money expended on them. 2. General retention is the right to withhold or detain the property of another, in respect of any debt which happens to be due by the proprietor to the person who has the custody; or for a general balance of accounts arising on a particular train of employment. 2 Bell's Com. 90, 91, 5th ed. Vide Lien.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Towards the end of 2017, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy launched a consultation on retention payments in the construction industry.
Water retention or fluid retention (medically known as edema) is defined as an excessive build-up of fluid in the circulatory system, body tissues or cavities in the body which can lead to swelling of the hands, feet, ankles and legs.
In the 2016 election cycle, some results in Alaska's judicial retention elections caused many observers to wonder if our constitutional merit system is vulnerable to the possibility that coordinated non-retention campaigns against competent and qualified sitting judges could be successful, and that we may be close to losing the services of some really good and fair judges for reasons that have nothing to do with judicial merit.
Measurement of micronutrient retention is an important aspect of research on biofortified foods, because a high loss of micronutrients in processing and cooking reduces the nutritional value of biofortified food.
Employees' retention has always been one of the major challenges being faced by almost every organization across the globe (Sinha and Sinha, 2012).
The results of the study have shown that there was significant difference in terms of mean increase in denture retention strength with paste form and powder form of denture adhesives (P<0.05).
In this electronic environment, using trigger events in a retention schedule is much more difficult for organizations to manage.
Retention letters providing information on the process to follow were sent to all optometry and dispensing students at the end of April.
The Avalere analysts could get retention data from the managers of 11 state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges, but not from the managers of the state-based PPACA exchanges in Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon.
Think of a retention as something akin to the deductible on your car or homeowners insurance policy.
Setting the fight retention level can be challenging, though.