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Agency Part One – Appointment and Authority

Have you appointed a person or an entity to act on your behalf, possibly in business?  If so, they are likely to be your ‘agent’.

If you consider the conduct of your agent has caused loss, there are some key principles and questions that need to be considered:

  • The appointment of the agent.  This includes looking at how the agent was appointed, whether the agreement needed to be written, and the capacity of the party appointing the agent.
  • What was the agent appointed to do?  What power or authority did the agent have to act on your behalf?  Were any powers or authority implied?  Did the agent have authority to receive payments or discharge debts?  The assessment of an agent’s authority may also consider normal business practices relevant to the appointment.
  • Did the agent perform the act or service that led to the alleged loss?  If not, an assessment of the agent’s ability to delegate responsibilities may be required.
  • Has the agent acted outside of the express and implied powers of the agency?  If so, those actions may still be binding if they are ratified by the principal.  This involves an assessment of the conduct of the principal following the unauthorised action.

Disputes can arise even with a carefully drafted agency agreement; for further information please contact David Collins or Kristy Nunn from our dispute resolution and litigation team.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

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