A relation, created either by express or implied contract or by law, whereby one party called the principal or constituent delegates the transaction of some lawful business or the authority to do certain acts for him or in relation to his rights or property, with more or less discretionary power, to another person called the agent, attorney, proxy, or delegate who undertakes to manage the affair and render him an account thereof. The contract of agency may be defined to be a contract by which one of the contracting parties confides the management of some affair, to be transacted on his account, to the other party, who undertakes to do the business and render an account of it.
Concepts[ edit ] The reciprocal rights and liabilities between a principal and an agent reflect commercial and legal realities. A business owner often relies on an employee or another person to conduct a business. In the case of a corporation, since a corporation can only act through Natural person agents.
The principal is bound by the contract entered into by the agent, so long as the agent performs within the scope of the agency. A third party may rely in good faith on the representation by a person who identifies himself as an agent for another. It is not always cost effective to check whether someone who is represented as having the authority to act for another actually has such authority.
If it is subsequently found that the alleged agent was acting without necessary authority, the agent will generally be held liable.
Brief statement of legal principles[ edit ] There are three broad classes of agent: General agents hold a more limited authority to conduct a series of transactions over a continuous period of time; and Special agents are authorized to conduct either only a single transaction or a specified series of transactions over a limited period of time.
Authority[ edit ] An agent who acts within the scope of authority conferred by his or her principal binds the principal in the obligations he or she creates against third parties.
There are essentially three kinds of authority recognized in the law: Actual authority Actual authority can be of two kinds. Either the principal may have expressly conferred authority on the agent, or authority may be implied.
Authority arises by consensual agreement, and whether it exists is a question of fact. An agent, as a general rule, is only entitled to indemnity from the principal if he or she has acted within the scope of her actual authority, and may be in breach of contract, and liable to a third party for breach of the implied warranty of authority.
In tort, a claimant may not recover from the principal unless the agent is acting within the scope of employment. Express actual authority[ edit ] Express actual authority means an agent has been expressly told he or she may act on behalf of a principal.
Implied actual authority[ edit ] Implied actual authority, also called "usual authority", is authority an agent has by virtue of being reasonably necessary to carry out his express authority.
As such, it can be inferred by virtue of a position held by an agent. For example, partners have authority to bind the other partners in the firm, their liability being joint and several, and in a corporation, all executives and senior employees with decision-making authority by virtue of their position have authority to bind the corporation.
Other forms of implied actual authority include customary authority.
This is where customs of a trade imply the agent to have certain powers. In wool buying industries it is customary for traders to purchase in their own names. This must be no more than necessary  Main articles: For example, where one person appoints a person to a position which carries with it agency-like powers, those who know of the appointment are entitled to assume that there is apparent authority to do the things ordinarily entrusted to one occupying such a position.
If a principal creates the impression that an agent is authorized but there is no actual authority, third parties are protected so long as they have acted reasonably. This is sometimes termed "agency by estoppel " or the "doctrine of holding out", where the principal will be estopped from denying the grant of authority if third parties have changed their positions to their detriment in reliance on the representations made.
Wills J held that "the principal is liable for all the acts of the agent which are within the authority usually confided to an agent of that character, notwithstanding limitations, as between the principal and the agent, put upon that authority.
It is sometimes referred to as "usual authority" though not in the sense used by Lord Denning MR in Hely-Hutchinson, where it is synonymous with "implied actual authority". It has been explained as a form of apparent authority, or "inherent agency power".
Authority by virtue of a position held to deter fraud and other harms that may befall individuals dealing with agents, there is a concept of Inherent Agency power, which is power derived solely by virtue of the agency relation. Even if the agent does act without authority, the principal may ratify the transaction and accept liability on the transactions as negotiated.
Liability[ edit ] Liability of agent to third party[ edit ] If the agent has actual or apparent authority, the agent will not be liable for acts performed within the scope of such authority, as long as the relationship of the agency and the identity of the principal have been disclosed.
When the agency is undisclosed or partially disclosed, however, both the agent and the principal are liable. Where the principal is not bound because the agent has no actual or apparent authority, the purported agent is liable to the third party for breach of the implied warranty of. Liability of agent to principal[ edit ] If the agent has acted without actual authority, but the principal is nevertheless bound because the agent had apparent authority, the agent is liable to indemnify the principal for any resulting loss or damage.
An agent owes the principal a number of duties.
An agent can represent the interests of more than one principal, conflicting or potentially conflicting, only after full disclosure and consent of the principal.
An agent must not usurp an opportunity from the principal by taking it for himself or passing it on to a third party. In return, the principal must make a full disclosure of all information relevant to the transactions that the agent is authorized to negotiate.Responsibility.
We evaluate people and groups as responsible or not, depending on how seriously they take their responsibilities. Often we do this informally, via moral judgment. The law of agency is an area of commercial law dealing with a set of contractual, quasi-contractual and non-contractual fiduciary relationships that involve a person, called the agent, that is authorized to act on behalf of another (called the principal) to create legal relations with a third party.
Succinctly, it may be referred to as the equal relationship between a principal and an agent. Introduction. The mission of the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.
Legal Concepts for Insurance Agents (NJ ) Posted on You and your clients will benefit greatly from the knowledge and understanding of our Legal System and Legal Concepts you will gain from this course. Agency Law; Chapter 8: Employment Law; Chapter 9: Ownership Law.
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