Bill, term for various written documents in politics, law, banking, commerce, and so forth. In politics, it is the draft of a statute submitted to the legislature for debate and eventual adoption as law. In the courtroom it was formerly applied to the written statement of a plaintiff's case, now usually referred to as a writ or statement of claim. Bills of attainder, passed by the English parliament and some American colonial legislatures, meted out penalties for certain political crimes but were later abolished as unconstitutional. In the commercial field, a bill of sale is a document transferring ownership of goods or property, sometimes used to secure a debt. In international trade, a bill of lading is a receipt given by a public carrier, agreeing to convey goods to a stated destination. In banking, a bill of exchange is a negotiable document, guaranteeing payment by the drawer to the payee, a form of promissory note or check. A bill of health is a document given to a ship's captain by a local authority, signifying absence of infectious or contagious disease on board.