A preliminary way of understanding the typical features of agency relationship is to compare and contrast an agent from other functionaries and relationships which appear similar but are invariably distinct and different. Such functionaries include trustees, servants, bailees and independent contractors.
AGENCIES AND OTHER LEGAL RELATIONSHIPS DEFINED
Agency and trust
Despite their similarities, A trustee differs from an agent in the following ways;
- A trust is created without the consent of the beneficiary(cest que trust) or the trustee.
- The trustee is not in any way a representative of the beneficiary.
- A trustee is never appointed by the beneficiary.
- Limitations are not imposed on the actions between a trustee and a beneficiary.
Agency and bailment
A bailee differs from an agent in the following ways:
- The bailee is not the representative of the bailor
- The bailee essentially has no authority to bind the bailor in contract and can rarely make the bailor liable in tort.
Agents, servants and independent contractors.
The distinguishing features of an agency relationship are its representative character and derivative authority which a servant would not ordinarily have. Meanwhile an independent contractor employs his own means and skills and is independent of control and supervision of his employer.
Agency and Sale
Confusion between buyer and agent may arise in cases where the function of the agent is to act as a middleman. However, this problem must be resolved by careful examination of facts. Courts pay attention to the question of whether one party called the agent is accountable for money received by him to the other party who is the alleged principal. This became more significant in the case of Aluminium Industries Vaassen Bv V Romalpa Aluminium Ltd.