The Taiwan High Court rendered the 105-Shang-1357 Civil Decision of March 7, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if the issuer of a promissory note admits that the specimen seal on the promissory note is authentic and fails to substantiate that the seal is stamped without his knowledge, it should be presumed that the promissory note is authentic.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, Individual A asserted that he had established the first mortgage on his real estate (hereinafter, the “Real Estate at Issue”). Later, Individual B, his sister, took the opportunity of visiting a land agent’s office with Individual A to handle an extension of the first mortgage on the Real Estate at Issue to misinform Individual A that Individual C was the agent of the holder of the first mortgage, and that it was necessary to establish the second mortgage (hereinafter, the “Mortgage at Issue”) on the Real Estate at Issue for the benefit of Individual C because it was required for the rearrangement and extension of the loan. Individual B also forged Individual A’s signature and stamped Individual A’s seal on a blank promissory note without Individual A’s knowledge with Individual C identified as the payee of the blank promissory note (hereinafter, the “Promissory Note at Issue”). Therefore, A filed suit to seek a declaration that the promissory note claim of Individual C did not exist and to demand that Individual C should remove the registration of the Mortgage at Issue.
According to the Decision, Article 358, Paragraph 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a private document is presumed to be authentic if it is signed by the person in whose name the document is issued or by his/her agent; or is imprinted with the seal or fingerprint of such person or agent; or bears the notarization by the court or a notary public. As Individual A admitted that the seal on the Promissory Note at Issue was authentic and failed to substantiate that his seal was stamped without his knowledge. It should be deemed that Individual A’s seal on the Promissory Note was authentic and presumed that the Promissory Note at Issue was authentic. It was further held in the Decision that according to testimonies of witnesses, the loan secured by the mortgage between Individual A and Individual C did exist. In addition, although Individual A and Individual B affixed the signature and seal on a blank promissory note, still an issue date, amount and payee were indicated to complete the issuance of the Promissory Note at Issue. Therefore, there was no such thing as a “blank check”. Individual A’s assertion that the Promissory Note at Issue was a blank check to be invalid was obviously a false understanding.
Therefore, it was held in this Decision that since Individual A’s seal and signature on the Promissory Note were authentic, the Promissory Note at issue was not a blank check, either, and the loan secured by the Mortgage at Issue did exist, Individual A’s complaint to compel Individual C to remove the registration of the mortgage on such basis was not acceptable and Individual A’s appeal was dismissed.