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Cover Sealy and Hooley's Commercial Law

5. Creation of agency, and the authority of the agent  

D Fox, RJC Munday, B Soyer, AM Tettenborn, and PG Turner

This chapter focuses on the creation of the principal–agent relationship and the authority of the agency and the four ways of creating it: through an express or implied agreement between the principal and the agent; under the doctrine of apparent authority; by operation of law; and through ratification of an unauthorised agent’s acts by the principal. Agency arising out of agreement will always be consensual, but it need not be contractual. After explaining how the agency relationship is created, the chapter examines the authority of the agent such as actual authority, apparent authority, and usual authority.

Chapter

Cover Commercial Law

5. The authority of an agent  

This chapter places the authority of an agent as a central concept of the law of agency, identifying two principal types of authority, namely actual authority (both express and implied, and the various forms of implied authority, such as customary authority and incidental authority) and apparent authority. There is a third form, known as usual authority, but, as will be seen, the reasoning behind the cases that established this form of authority is highly suspect. All three forms of authority are discussed. Determining the existence and type of authority is vital as the legal consequences of an agent breaching their authority can be severe. The principal may not be bound by the agent’s actions and the agent may instead be personally liable. In addition, the agent may lose the commission/remuneration to which they were entitled, and may be found liable for breach of contract and/or breach of warranty of authority.

Chapter

Cover Commercial Law Concentrate

12. The creation of agency and the agent’s authority  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter focuses on the creation of agency and its three main parties: the agent, the principal, and the third party. The primary purpose of the agent is to bring the principal and the third party into direct contractual relations, with the principal taking on the rights and liabilities created by the contracts, provided the agent had authority to act. The chapter looks at several kinds of agent’s authority, including actual authority, apparent authority, and usual authority, and also considers agency of necessity as well as cases where the principal may ratify a transaction.