Rights of agent

Right of retainer: (Sec 217) The agent may retain, out of the principal sum in the business of the agency, all moneys due to himself in respect of advances made or expenses properly incurred by him in conducting such business, and also such remuneration as may be payable to him for acting as an agent. The agent when he receives money on account of his principal can retain them to recover monies due to himself in respect of expenses or advances made by him and remuneration payable to him. He can retain only such money as is in his possession. It must be noted that subject to such deductions, the agent is bound to pay to his principal all sums received on the principal’s account (Sec 218). The agent cannot retain sums received by him in one business for his commission or remuneration in other business.

Right to claim remuneration: (Sec 219) The agent has a right to receive agreed remuneration when he has carried out the object of agency unless:

1) there is a contract to the contrary; or
2) the agent is guilty of misconduct in the business of the agency.

Where the agent’s remuneration becomes due: (Sec 219) In the absence of any special contract, payment for the performance of an act is not due to the agent until the completion of such act. When an agent’s act will be deemed to be completed will depend on terms of the particular contract.

Where the remuneration of an agent is payable upon the performance by him of a definite undertaking, he is entitled to be paid as soon as he has substantially done all that he undertook to do, even if the principal acquires no benefits from his services except where there is an express agreement or special custom to the contrary.

Right of lien: (Sec 221) In the absence of any contract to the contrary, an agent is entitled to retain goods, papers and other property whether movable or immovable of the principal received by him, until the amount due to himself for commission, disbursements and services in respect of the same has been paid or accounted for to him. The agent has no lien over the property where it is entrusted to him for a special purpose which is inconsistent with the lien claimed.

The agent has a right of particular lien and not of general lien. The right of lien is lost by his parting with the possession of goods or the agent waiving his right of lien. This case the agent is in possessor’s lien on the principal’s property in his custody. The agent has no right to sell the goods. It only enables him to retain the property till his dues are paid. The agent’s right of lien extends only on properly in respect of which the principal has as against third persons, the right to create a lien. If principal has limited rights over the property, the lien of the agent will be limited to that extent. A sub-agent appointed without authority has no lien.

Right to indemnity: (Secs 222 & 223) The agent has the right to be indemnified by the principal against –

1) the consequences of all lawful acts done by him in exercise of the authority conferred upon him; (Sec 222) and
2) against the consequences of an act done in good faith (Sec 223).

Right to indemnity extends to all losses and expenses incurred by the agent in conduct of the business. An agent, however, has no right to be indemnified against the consequences of criminal acts (Sec 224).

Compensation: (Sec 225) The agent has a right to receive compensation in respect of injury caused to him by the principal’s neglect or want of skill but for not for the injury caused by his own contributory negligence.

To do lawful things: (Sec 188) an agent having an authority to do an act has authority to do every lawful thing is necessary in order to do such act.

In emergency: (Sec 189) In an emergency, agent has authority to do all such acts for the purposes of protecting his principal from loss.

To appoint substitute agent: (Sec 194) where an agent has an express or implied authority, he may name another person to act for the principal in the business of the agency.

To renounce agency: (Sec 201) an agent may renounce his agency by reasonable notice to the principal.

Compensation for premature revocation: (Sec 205) Where there is an express or implied contract that the agency should be continued for any period of time, the agent is entitled to receive compensation from the principal for any previous revocation of the agency without sufficient cause.

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