Previous: Obligations in agency

Disclosed, undisclosed, unnamed and commission agency

The concepts of disclosed and undisclosed agency have already been briefly mentioned. Undisclosed agency is the usual type of agency, where a third party knows he is working through an agent. In undisclosed agency, a third party does not know whether he is working through an agent or not. According to Cooke & Sons v Eshelby (1887), where an agent sometimes acts for a principal, and sometimes on his own behalf, an agreement should be treated asĀ if it were executed within an undisclosed agency. If no principal is involved and the agent is in truth acting on his own behalf, no issues may arise, but it is for the third party to take the risk that a principal may be involved, and for that third party to enquire as to whether an agent is involved: if the agent lies, the contract will then be void for misrepresentation.

Unnamed agency will be treated as undisclosed agency, as a third party cannot have rights exercisable against an unidentified person, according to The Frost Express [1996]; although some have argued that this rule should be replaced with an agent’s obligation to disclose the identity of his unnamed principal within a reasonable time of being notified of proceedings. ‘Commission agency’ is not usually considered to be a type of agency, as the agent acts on his own behalf, keeping any profits made as a merchant, but also incurring obligations to the goods he sells...

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