Succinctly, it may be referred to as the equal relationship between a principal and an agent whereby the principal, expressly or implicitly, authorizes the agent to work under his or her control and on his or her behalf. The agent is, thus, required to negotiate on relationship between law and sociology pdf of the principal or bring him or her and third parties into contractual relationship.
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 is a fictitious legal person, it can only act through human 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. Universal agents hold broad authority to act on behalf of the principal, e. Special agents are authorized to conduct either only a single transaction or a specified series of transactions over a limited period of time.
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. 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 means an agent has been expressly told he or she may act on behalf of a principal. 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.