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PRINCIPALS AND AGENTS.
PART III. An agent is a person empowered to act in
the name of another, who is called his
Agent de principal.
Who may be agent.
Mode of appointment.
An infant may be an agent, and a feme covert may be agent either for her own husband or another person. (Sm. Merc. Law, 117; Broom Com. 517; 2 Ste. Com. 64.)
An agent may in general be appointed even verbally, or tacitly by conduct. But an agent for the purposes of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sections of the Statute of Frauds, must be appointed in writing. And an agent who is to execute a deed, must be appointed by deed. (Sm. Merc. Law, 118; Broom Com. 534; 2 Ste. Com. 64.)
That which a person may do himself as principal, he may (except in one or two cases) appoint an agent to do for him. But an agent cannot delegate the duties of his agency, unless specially authorised, or except those which are of such a nature that
What may, bu deputed.
he cannot be expected to perform them per- Part III. sonally. (Sm. Merc. Law, 116; Broom Com. Cap. II. 516; 2 Ste. Com. 67.)
Agencies, as regards their extent, are of Different three kinds : 1. Special, that is, an authority authorities. to do a particular act, or carry out a particular matter. 2. General, that is, an authority to do everything which is requisite in relation to a particular business or employment. 3. Universal, that is, to do all acts for the principal which he may legally depute another to do. So that a man may have both a special and a general agent, or one general agent in regard to one business, and another general agent in regard to another business. (Broom Com. 517-8; 2 Ste. Com. 65; Sm. Merc. Law, 120, 134-5.)
Again, an agent may be limited by certain Extent of instructions as to his conduct, or unlimited, authority. leaving his conduct to his own discretion. If limited by instructions, he ought to carry them into effect as fully and exactly as possible, consistently with propriety. If unlimited, he ought to pursue the accustomed course of business, or, if prevented, to give notice to his principal. (Sm. Merc. Law, 120; Selw. N.P. 807.)
An agent has authority to bind his princi
Part III. pal, not only where he is expressly authorised,
be inferred from the conduct of the employer,
The authority of the agent must be inferred from facts connected with the employment, not from considerations of the utility or propriety of such an authority. (Sm. Merc. Law, 132-4; Add. Cont. 608, 610-11.)
A general agent is only authorised to act in the usual way of business. (2 Selw. N.P. 807.)
Under ordinary circumstances, agents are Part III.
TIT. III. authorised to do all that is necessary or CAP. II. usual for effectuating the main intention of the principal in the best manner. (Sm. Merc. Law, 137; Broom Com. 521.)
Although a shopman be authorised by his employer to receive payment for goods in the shop, that does not necessarily involve an authority to receive money for his employer elsewhere. (Broom Com. 521.)
If a particular agent exceeds his authority, Exceeding his principal is not bound; for it is the duty of persons dealing with him to ascertain his authority. But if a general agent exceeds his authority, his principal is bound, provided his acts are within the usual dealing and scope of the business. And a principal cannot, unknown to parties dealing with his general agent, restrict the agent's authority to perform all things customary in the busi
(Sm. Merc. Law, 134-5; Add. Cont. 608; 2 Ste. Com. 68 ; Broom Com. 517, 520.)
If an agent exceeds his authority, any loss arising therefrom will fall on him; but any benefit will belong to his employer. (Sm. Merc. Law, 120-1.)
It is the duty of an agent to keep clear Accounts. and regular accounts and vouchers, and to
Distinctions as to remu.
Part III. communicate the result to his principal from
will not be allowed the compensation which
A remunerated agent may be compelled nerated and to fulfil his engagement. An unremunerated
agent cannot be; yet if he begins to act, and is guilty of misconduct, he will be liable. A remunerated agent will be liable for the consequences of his want of skill. An unremunerated agent is only bound to use that skill which he possesses.
A remunerated agent is bound to act with reasonable diligence.
An unremunerated agent is only answerable for gross negligence. (Sm. Merc. Law, 120, 128; Sm. Cont. 152.)
The agent's remuneration is called his commission. The amount is fixed by the contract, or by usage or statute; or, if not so fixed, it may be determined by a jury. He may be deprived of his commission by neglecting to keep an account, or by other