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Agents Case

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An agent is defined as a legal person (individual or group) who acts on behalf of another. There are two contracts involved. The one between the agent and the principal and the one between the principal and a third party. The agent can be both an employee (or contractor) of the principal at the same time as his agent eg, shop assistant is an agent.

This is a contractual relationship.


There are two main categories of agent:

(a) An agent who is given a large area of authority to act on behalf of the principal in general business or trade matters is called a general agent. This might include a partner, company director.

(b) An agent who is given specific authority and specific instructions for a specific purpose. An insurance agent is known as a special agent.

The category of agent can affect their liability to any claims, as generally the principal will not be liable for third parties who deal with special agents in areas outwith their specific instructions.


Express appointment. In writing or verbally eg, partnership agreements. Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993, Regulation 13 states that principals are entitled to obtain from each other a statement of the terms.

Created by implication. Where no express, or deliberate, appointment of an agent has been made by principal but agency arises through the actings of the parties. Neville v C & A Modes Ltd (1945)

Agency by ratification. Principal may retrospectively authorize the act of agent.

Agency of necessity. Occurs in emergency situations eg, extreme weather conditions or war. Fernie v Robertson (1871). Anyone acting as an agent of necessity must act in the best interests of the person they are helping and proceed in good faith.



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