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swarb.co.uk - law index
These cases are from the lawindexpro database. They are now being transferred to the swarb.co.uk website in a better form. As a case is published there, an entry here will link to it. The swarb.co.uk site includes many later cases.
Agency - From: 1849 To: 1899
This page lists 44 cases, and was prepared on 09 July 2015.Acraman And Another, Assignees Of Garrett, A Bankrupt -v- Herniman  EngR 429; (1851) 16 QB 998; (1851) 117 ER 1164
6 May 1851
[ Commonlii ]
Lady Beresford -v- Driver; 31-Jul-1851 -  EngR 754; (1851) 14 Beav 387; (1851) 51 ER 335
Lady Beresford -v- Driver  EngR 650 (A); (1852) 16 Beav 134
1 Jun 1852
[ Commonlii ]
Robertson -v- Wait (1853) 8 Ex 299
Collen -v- Wright (1857) 8 B & E 647
The law of breach of the warranty of authority should be read to imply a remedy to an innocent third party, with whom the agent has purported without authority to make a contract or to reach a settlement of outstanding liabilities under a contract, against the agent.
Slack -v- Crewe  EngR 244; (1860) 2 F & F 59; (1860) 175 ER 958
Agency, Landlord and Tenant
It is doubtful whether an agent to let a house has an implied general authority to let persons into possession, but slight evidence will be sufficient to show an express authority.
[ Commonlii ]
Holland -v- Russell; 13-Jun-1861 -  EngR 728; (1861) 1 B & S 424; (1861) 121 ER 773
Holland -v- Russell; 9-May-1863 -  EngR 546; (1863) 4 B & S 14; (1863) 122 ER 365
Edmunds (PO) -v- Bushell And Jones  EngR 12 (B); (1865) 4 F & F 1044
[ Commonlii ]
Platzhoff -v- Lebean  EngR 40; (1865) 4 F & F 545; (1865) A)
[ Commonlii ]
Salomons -v- Pender  EngR 365; (1865) 3 H & C 639; (1865) 159 ER 682
21 Apr 1865
When a person who purports to act as an agent is not in a position to say to his principal, "I have been acting as your agent, and I have done my duty by you," he is not entitled to recover any commission from that principal.
Bramwell B said: "It is true that . . the defendant has had the benefit (if it be one) of the plaintiff's services. But the defendant is in a position to say, 'What you have done has been done as a volunteer, and does not come within the line of your duties as agent.'" And in the same case Martin B. quoted the passage from Story on Agency, where it is said: "In this connection, also, it seems proper to state another rule, in regard to the duties of agents, which is of general application, and that is, that, in matters touching the agency, agents cannot act so as to bind their principals, where they have an adverse interest in themselves. This rule is founded upon the plain and obvious consideration, that the principal bargains, in the employment, for the exercise of the disinterested skill, diligence, and zeal of the agent, for his own exclusive benefit. It is a confidence necessarily reposed in the agent, that he will act with a sole regard to the interests of his principal, as far as he lawfully may; and even if impartiality could possibly be presumed on the part of an agent, where his own interests were concerned, that is not what the principal bargains for; and in many cases, it is the very last thing which would advance his interests. The seller of an estate must be presumed to be desirous of obtaining as high a price as can fairly be obtained therefor; and the purchaser must equally be presumed to desire to buy it for as low a price as he may."
[ Commonlii ]
Jones -v- Phipps  LR 2 QB 567
Landlord and Tenant, Agency
For many years, an agent had, with the authority of his principals, dealt with an estate as his own and negotiated with the tenant as to the terms and continuance of the holding. Held: It was incidental to that authority that he should determine the tenancy by notice to quit. The tenant was not aware of the existence of the agent's principals and considered the agent to be the landlord.
Calder -v- Dobell (1871) LR 6 CP 486
"an agent who contracts in his own name does not cease to be contractually bound because it is proved that the other party knew when the contract was made that he was acting as agent."
Australasian Steam Navigation Co -v- Morse (1872) LR 4 PC 222
Sir Montague Smith
Sir Montague Smith: "... when by the force of circumstances a man has the duty cast upon him of taking some action for another, and under that obligation, adopts the course which, to the judgment of a wise and prudent man, is apparently the best for the interest of the persons for whom he acts in a given emergency, it may properly be said of the course so taken, that it was, in a mercantile sense, necessary to take it."
The Australasian Steam Navigation Company -v- William Henry Morse And George Philip Morse  EngR 22; (1872) 8 Moo PC NS 482; (1872) 17 ER 393
22 Mar 1872
Commonwealth, Transport, Agency
The authority of the Master of a Ship to sell the goods of an absent Owner is derived from the necessity of the situation in which he is placed; and, consequently, to justify his selling, he must establish (1) a necessity for the sale; and (2) inability to communicate with the Owner. Under these conditions, and by force of them, the Master becomes the Agent of the Owner, not only with the power, but under the obligation (within certain limits) of acting for him; but he is not, in any case, entitIed to substitute his own judgment for the will of the Owner, in selling the goods, where it is possible to communicate with the Owner.
[ Commonlii ]
Hamilton -v- Dixon 1873 1R 72
Lord Justice Clerk Moncrieff
The court heard an allegation concerning an alleged obligation to deliver pig iron. Held: "it was too plain to require argument that in order to authorise an agent to give away his employer's goods without consideration, direct and immediate sanction to the individual transaction would be necessary."
Great Northern Railway Co -v- Swaffield; 1874 - (1874) LR 9 Ex 132
Parker -v- McKenna; CA 1874 - (1874) LR 10 Ch 124
Hollins -v- Fowler; HL 1875 - (1875) LR 7 HL 757
Panama & South Pacific Telegraph Co -v- India Rubber, Gutta Percha, and Telegraph Co  9 Ch App 515
Where his agent has taken a secret commission, the transaction is voidable at the election of the principal who can rescind it provided counter-restitution can be made.
Drew -v- Nunn; CA 1879 - (1879) 4 QBD 661; (1879 40 LT 671; (1879 48 LJQB 59
National Mercantile Bank Ltd -v- Rymill; CA 1881 -  44 LTNS 767
National Mercantile Bank -v- Rymill; 1881 - (1881) 44 LTNS 767
Ex parte Moore; 1881 - (1881) 30 WR 123
West London Commercial Bank -v- Kitson  12 QBD 157
Hughes -v- Percival; 1883 - (1883) 8 App Cas 443; [1881-85] All ER 44; (1883) 8 AC 443
Re Lewis ex parte Helder; CA 1883 - (1883) 24 ChD 339
The Fore Street Warehouse Company Ltd -v- Durrant & Co; 1883 - (1883) 10 QBD 471
Re Chapman ex parte Edwards; CA 1884 - (1884) 13 QBD 747
Blackburn, Low & Co -v- Vigors (1886) 17 QBD 553
Lord Esher MR, Lindley LJ,
Agency, Insurance, Torts - Other
Lord Esher MR: "This seems to me to be the true doctrine. The freedom from mis-representation or concealment is a condition precedent to the right of the assured to insist on the performance of the contract, so that on a failure of the performance of the condition the assured cannot enforce the contract." Lindley LJ: "It is a condition of the contract that there is no misrepresentation or concealment either by the assured or by anyone who ought as a matter of business and fair dealing to have stated or disclosed the facts to him or to the underwriter for him." Lord Halsbury LC warned against "the somewhat vague use of the word 'agent'" which, he said, "leads to confusion" in insurance cases.
Firbank's Executors -v- Humphryes (1886) 18 QBD 54
Lord Esher MR
The plaintiff was induced to enter into a transaction by the someone pretending to be the principal. The defence was that he was the principal's innocent agent. Held: Lord Esher MR discussed the warranty of authority: "The rule to be deduced is, that where a person by asserting that he has the authority of the principle induces another to enter into any transaction which he would not have entered into but for that assertion, and that assertion turns out to be untrue, to the injury of the person to whom it is made, it must be taken that the person making it undertook that it was true, and he is liable personally for the damage that has occurred."
Blackburn, Low & Co -v- Vigors; HL 1887 - (1887) 12 App Cas 531
Toulmin -v- Millar; HL 1887 - (1887) 58 LT 96
Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co -v- Ansell; CA 1888 - (1888) 39 ChD 339
Lyell -v- Kennedy; HL 1889 - (1889) 14 App Cas 437
Barker -v- Furlong; 1891 - (1891) 2 CH 172
Mullens -v- Miller  22 Ch D 194
Where an agent enters into a contract on behalf of a principal and the opposite party has been induced to enter into it by an innocent misrepresentation by the agent, the opposite party is entitled to rescission provided that the making of a representation of that kind was within the actual or apparent authority of the agent.
Consolidated Co -v- Curtis & Son (1892) 1 QB 495
Torts - Other, Agency
An auctioneer who sold and delivered goods the subject of a bill of sale. An auctioneer who sells and delivers is liable in conversion because he is acting as more than a mere broker or intermediary. Held: It is not easy to draw the line at the precise point where a dealing with goods by an intermediary becomes a conversion. The difficulty is diminished by remembering that in trover the original possession was by a fiction deemed to be lawful … and some act had therefore to be shown constituting a conversion by the defendant of the chattel to his own use, some act incompatible with a recognition on his part of the continuous right of the true owner to the dominion over it. All acts which are consistent with the duty of a mere finder such as the safeguarding by warehousing or asportation for the like purpose, may well be looked upon as entirely compatible with the right of the true owner, and, therefore, as not constituting a conversion by the defendant. The test may be whether there is an intent to interfere in any manner with the title of or ownership in the chattel, not merely with the possession. The difficulty is rather in drawing the true inference from facts in particular cases than in grasping the principle. There can be no conversion by a mere bargain and sale without a transfer of possession. The act, unless in market overt, is merely void, and does not change the property or the possession: Lancashire Wagon Co. v Fitzhugh A fortiori, mere intervention as broker or intermediary in a sale by others is not a conversion.
Bryant Powis & Bryant -v- La Banque du Peuple; PC 1893 -  AC 170
Ultzen -v- Nicols; 1894 -  1 QB 92; (1894) 63 LJ QB 829; (1894) 70 LT 140; (1894) 10 TLR 25; (1894) 28 Sol Jo 26; (1894) 10 R 13 DC
Pape -v- Westacott  1 QB 272
The landlord's agent, in breach of his authority, released a licence to assign a lease taking a cheque (instead of cash) for the outstanding rent due from the existing tenant. This took place in the presence of the assignee, who did not however know of the excess of authority. Held: The court dismissed a suggestion that the landlord could still have distrained against the assignee. The agent had as far as the assignee was concerned been held out as acting with authority, but the agent was liable to the landlord for exceeding his authority.
Gaskell -v- Gosling; CA 1896 -  1 QB 669
Re Hampshire Land Company; 1896 -  2 Ch 743
Shipway -v- Broadwood  1 QB 369
Where an agent takes a commission, "the real evil is not the payment of money, but the secrecy attending it"
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