Latin, meaning “delivery with the short hand.” Traditio brevi manu or “delivery with the short hand” refers to the act of a person, to whom an item is transferred, who is already in possession of the item but not as the owner of the item. The concept prevents the need for a needless “double delivery” for a party to take ownership of an item they already have in their possession. It is a constructive or implied delivery.
For example, a person who leases a car has possession of the automobile although not the owner. If the lease contains an option to buy, the lessee then could become a purchaser. It would be needless and burdensome to require the lessee to return the car to the lessor solely to afford the lessor/owner with the ability make a legal delivery of the car back to the lessee/purchaser to legally complete the act of a purchase. In essence, the car is delivered with the short hand since the lessee already has the car in his or her possession.
Contrast this with traditio longa manu, which is the traditional form of delivery such as would take place at a common sale, e.g. a store owner physically hands a carton of cigarettes to the party that has already paid for the item.