agent.  1.  Something  that  produces  an  effect  <an  intervening  agent>.  See  CAUSE  (1);

ELECTRONIC  AGENT.  2.  One  who  is  authorized  to  act  for  or  in  place  of  another;  a

representative   <a   professional   athlete’s   agent>.   —   Also   termed   commissionaire.   Cf.

PRINCIPAL(1); EMPLOYEE. [Cases: Principal and Agent    1, 3. C.J.S. Agency §§ 2, 4–9, 11–16,

18, 23, 25–27, 33, 38–40, 58.]

“Generally  speaking,  anyone  can  be  an  agent  who  is  in  fact  capable  of  performing  the

functions  involved.  The  agent  normally  binds  not  himself  but  his  principal  by  the  contracts  he

makes; it is therefore not essential that he be legally capable to contract (although his duties and

liabilities to  his principal  might be affected by his status). Thus an infant or a lunatic  may be an

agent, though doubtless the court would disregard either’s attempt to act as if he were so young or

so  hopelessly  devoid  of  reason  as  to  be  completely  incapable  of  grasping  the  function  he  was

attempting to perform.” Floyd R. Mechem, Outlines of the  Law of Agency 8–9 (Philip Mechem

ed., 4th ed. 1952).

“The etymology of the word agent or agency tells us much. The words are derived from the

Latin  verb,  ago,  agere;  the  noun  agens,  agentis.  The  word  agent  denotes  one  who  acts,  a  doer,

force or power that accomplishes things.” Harold Gill Reuschlein & William A. Gregory, The Law

of Agency and Partnership § 1, at 2–3 (2d ed. 1990).

apparent  agent.A  person  who  reasonably  appears  to  have  authority  to  act  for  another,

regardless of whether actual authority has been conferred. — Also termed ostensible agent. [Cases:

Principal and Agent    99. C.J.S. Agency §§ 153–164.]

bail-enforcement agent.See BOUNTY HUNTER.

bargaining  agent.A  labor  union  in  its  capacity  of  representing  employees  in  collective

bargaining. [Cases: Labor Relations    291. C.J.S. Labor Relations § 274.]

broker-agent. See BROKER.

business agent.See BUSINESS AGENT.

clearing  agent.Securities.  A  person  or  company  acting  as  an  intermediary  in  a  securities

transaction or providing facilities for comparing data with respect to securities transactions. • The

term  includes  a  custodian  of  securities  in  connection  with  the  central  handling  of  securities.

Securities  Exchange  Act  §  3(a)(23)(A)  (15  USCA  §  78c(a)(23)(A)).  —  Also  termed  clearing

co-agent. A  person  who  shares with  another  agent the  authority  to  act for  the  principal.  —

Also termed dual agent. Cf. common agent.

commercial agent. 1.BROKER. 2. A consular officer responsible for the commercial interests

of his or her country at a foreign port. 3. See mercantile agent.

common agent.An agent who acts on behalf of more than one principal in a transaction. Cf.


corporate agent.An agent authorized to act on behalf of a corporation; broadly, all employees

and officers who have the power to bind the corporation. [Cases: Corporations    397–399. C.J.S.

Corporations §§ 586–587, 591, 593–596, 598.]

county agent.See juvenile officer under OFFICER(1).

del   credere   agent   (del   kred-<<schwa>>-ray   orkray-d<<schwa>>-ray).   An   agent   who

guarantees the solvency of the third party with whom the agent makes a contract for the principal.

•  A  del  credere  agent  receives  possession  of  the  principal’s  goods  for  purposes  of  sale  and

guarantees that anyone to whom the agent sells the goods on credit will  pay  promptly for them.

For this guaranty, the agent receives a higher commission for sales. The promise of such an agent

is almost universally held not to be within the statute of frauds. — Also termed del credere factor.

[Cases: Factors    29.]

diplomatic  agent.A  national  representative  in  one  of  four  categories:  (1)  ambassadors,  (2)

envoys  and  ministers  plenipotentiary,  (3)  ministers  resident  accredited  to  the  sovereign,  or  (4)

chargés d’affaires accredited to the mi-nister of foreign affairs. [Cases: Ambassadors and Consuls

1–8. C.J.S. Ambassadors and Consuls §§ 2–32.]

dual agent.See co-agent.

emigrant agent.One engaged in the business of hiring laborers for work outside the country or


enrolled agent.See ENROLLED AGENT.

escrow agent.The third-party depositary of an escrow; ESCROW(3). — Also termed escrow

holder;  escrowee;  escrow  officer.  [Cases:  Deposits  and  Escrows    13.  C.J.S.  Depositaries  §§

15–17; Escrows §§ 8–10.]

fiscal  agent.A  bank  or  other  financial  institution  that  collects  and  disburses  money  and

services as a depository of private and public funds on another’s behalf.

foreign agent.A person who registers with the federal government as a lobbyist representing

the interests of a foreign nation or corporation.

forwarding agent.  1.  See  FREIGHT  FORWARDER. 2.  A  freight  forwarder  who  assembles

less-than-carload  shipments  (small  shipments)  into  carload  shipments,  thus  taking  advantage  of

lower freight rates. [Cases: Carriers    178. C.J.S. Carriers § 463.]

general agent.An agent authorized to transact all the principal’s business of a particular kind

or  in  a  particular  place.  •  Among  the  common  types  of  general agents are  factors,  brokers,  and

partners. [Cases: Insurance    1634(2); Principal and  Agent    93. C.J.S. Agency § 172; Insurance

§§ 193–194.]

“Although  the  distinction  between  general  and  special  agents  can  be  difficult  to  apply,  the

terminology is some-times used by courts and the distinction plays a major role in the Restatement

of Agency. A general agent … is an integral part of the principal’s business and does not need fresh

authorization for each separate transaction. A manager of a store is an example of a general agent.”

J. Dennis Hynes, Agency, Partnership, and the LLC in a Nutshell 21 (1997).

government agent. 1. An employee or representative of a governmental body. [Cases: United

States    36. C.J.S. United States §§ 56–57.] 2. A law-enforcement official, such as a police officer

or an FBI agent. 3. An informant, esp. an inmate, hired by law enforcement to obtain incriminating

statements  from  another  inmate.  •  An  accused’s  Sixth  Amendment  right  to  counsel  is  triggered

when the accused is questioned by a government agent.

high-managerial  agent.An  agent  of  a  corporation  or  other  business,  having  authority  to

formulate corporate policy or supervise employees. — Also termed superior agent.

independent agent.An agent who exercises personal judgment and is subject to the principal

only for the results of the work performed.

innocent agent.Criminal law. A person whose action on behalf of a principal is unlawful but

does not merit prosecution because the agent had no knowledge of the principal’s illegal purpose;

a person who lacks the mens rea for an offense but who is tricked or coerced by the principal into

committing  a  crime.  •  Although  the  agent’s  conduct  was  unlawful,  the  agent  might  not  be

prosecuted if the agent had no knowledge of the principal’s illegal purpose. The principal is legally

accountable for the innocent agent’s actions. See Model Penal Code § 2.06(2)(a).

insurance agent.See INSURANCE AGENT.

jural agent.See JURAL AGENT.

land agent.See LAND MANAGER.

listing agent.See LISTING AGENT.

local  agent.An  agent appointed  to  act as  another’s  (esp.  a  company’s)  representative  and  to

transact business within a specified district.

managing  agent.A  person  with  general  power  involving  the  exercise  of  judgment  and

discretion,  as  opposed  to  an  ordinary  agent  who  acts  under  the  direction  and  control  of  the

principal. — Also termed business agent. [Cases: Principal and Agent    50.]

mercantile agent.An agent employed to sell goods or merchandise on behalf of the principal.

— Also termed commercial agent.

nonservant agent.An agent who agrees to act on the principal’s behalf but is not subject to the

principal’s control over how the task is performed. • A principal is not liable for the physical torts

of a nonservant agent. See IN-DEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. Cf. SERVANT.

ostensible agent.See apparent agent.

patent  agent.A  specialized  legal  professional  —  not  necessarily  a  licensed  lawyer  —  who

prepares  and  prosecutes  patent  applications  before  the  Patent  and  Trademark  Office  •  Patent

agents  must  be  licensed  by  the  Patent  and  Trademark  Office.  —  Also  termed  patent  solicitor;

registered patent agent.

primary agent.An agent who is directly authorized by a principal. • A primary agent generally

may hire a subagent to perform all or part of the agency. Cf. subagent.

private  agent.An  agent  acting  for  an  individual  in  that  person’s  private  affairs.  [Cases:

Principal and Agent    92(3).]

process agent.A person authorized to accept service of process on behalf of another. [Cases:

Corporations    668(4); Process    58. C.J.S. Corporations §§ 954–956; Process § 39.]

procuring  agent.A  person  who  obtains  drugs  on  behalf  of  another  person  and  delivers  the

drugs  to  that  person.  •  In  criminal-defense  theory,  the  procuring  agent  does  not  sell,  barter,

exchange, or make a gift of the drugs to the other person because the drugs already belong to that

person, who merely employs the agent to pick up and deliver them.

public agent.A  person appointed to act for the  public in  matters  pertaining to  governmental

administration or public business. [Cases: Officers and Public Employees    1. C.J.S. Officers and

Public Employees §§ 1–9, 12–17, 21.]

real-estate agent.An agent who represents a buyer or seller (or both, with proper disclosures)

in the sale or lease of real property. • A real-estate agent can be either a broker (whose principal is

a  buyer  or  seller)  or  a  salesperson  (whose  principal  is  a  broker).  [Cases:  Brokers    6.  C.J.S.

Brokers §§ 25–26, 31–32.]

record agent.See INSURANCE AGENT.

registered agent.A  person authorized to accept service of process for another person,  esp. a

corporation,  in  a  particular  jurisdiction.  —  Also  termed  resident  agent.  [Cases:  Corporations

507(5), 668(4); Process    58. C.J.S. Corporations §§ 728, 954–956; Process § 39.]

selling agent.The real-estate broker’s representative who sells the property, as opposed to the

agent who lists the property for sale. Cf. LISTING AGENT. [Cases: Brokers    18. C.J.S. Brokers

§ 49.]

soliciting  agent.  1.Insurance.  An  agent  with  limited  authority  relating  to  the  solicitation  or

submission of appli-cations to an insurance company but usu. without authority to bind the insurer,

as  by  accepting  the  applications  on  behalf  of  the  company.  [Cases:  Insurance    1634(3).  C.J.S.

Insurance  §  195.]  2.  An  agent  who  solicits  orders  for  goods  or  services  for  a  principal.  3.  A

managing  agent  of  a  corporation  for  purposes  of  service  of  process.  [Cases:  Corporations


special  agent.  1.  An  agent  employed  to  conduct  a  particular  transaction  or  to  perform  a

specified  act.  [Cases:  Principal  and  Agent    94.  C.J.S.  Agency  §  172.]  2.  See  INSURANCE

specially accredited agent.An agent with  whom a third  person  has been specially  invited to

deal by the principal under circumstances leading the third person to believe that he or she will be

notified if the authority is altered or revoked.

statutory  agent.An  agent  designated  by  law  to  receive  litigation  documents  and  other  legal

notices for a nonre-sident corporation. • In most states, the secretary of state is the statutory agent

for  such  corporations.  [Cases:  Corporations    507(5,  12),  646,  668(14).  C.J.S.  Corporations  §§

725, 728, 902, 959.]

stock-transfer  agent.An  organization  that  oversees  and  maintains  records  of  transfers  of

shares for a corporation. [Cases: Corporations    128.1.]

subagent.  A  person  to  whom  an  agent  has  delegated  the  performance  of  an  act  for  the

principal;  a  person  designated  by  an  agent to  perform  some  duty  relating  to  the  agency.  • If  the

principal  consents  to  a  primary  agent’s  employment  of  a  subagent,  the  subagent  owes  fiduciary

duties to the principal, and the principal is liable for the subagent’s acts. Cf. primary agent. — Also

termed subservant. [Cases: Principal and Agent    73. C.J.S. Agency §§ 257–263, 265–267.]

“By delegation … the agent is permitted to use agents of his own in performing the function

he is employed to perform for his principal, delegating to them the discretion which normally he

would  be  expected  to  exercise  personally.  These  agents  are  known  as  subagents to  indicate that

they  are  the  agent’s  agents  and  not  the  agents  of  the  principal.  Normally  (though  of  course  not

necessarily) they are paid by the agent. The agent is liable to the principal for any injury done him

by the misbehavior of the agent’s subagents.” Floyd R. Mechem, Outlines of the Law of Agency §

79, at 51 (Philip Mechem ed., 4th ed. 1952).

successor agent.An agent who is appointed by a principal to act in a primary agent’s stead if

the primary agent is unable or unwilling to perform.

superior agent.See high-managerial agent.

transfer  agent.An  organization  (such  as  a  bank  or  trust  company)  that  handles  transfers  of

shares for a publicly held corporation by issuing new certificates and overseeing the cancellation

of old ones and that usu. also main-tains the record of shareholders for the corporation and mails

dividend  checks. • Generally,  a  transfer  agent ensures that  certificates submitted  for  transfer  are

properly indorsed and that the right to transfer is appropriately documented. [Cases: Corporations


undercover agent. 1. An agent who does not disclose his or her role as an agent. 2. A police

officer  who  gathers  evidence  of  criminal  activity  without  disclosing  his  or  her  identity  to  the

universal  agent.An  agent  authorized  to  perform  all  acts  that  the  principal  could  personally

perform. [Cases: Principal and Agent    50.]

vice-commercial agent.Hist.  In  the  consular  service of  the  United  States, a  consular  officer

who  was  substituted  temporarily  to  fill  the  place  of  a  commercial  agent who  was  absent or  had

been relieved from duty.

3.Patents.  A  person  who  is  not  an  attorney  but  who  has  fulfilled  the  U.S.  Patent  and

Trademark Office require-ments as a lay representative and is registered to prepare and prosecute

patent applications before the PTO. • To be registered to practice before the PTO, a candidate must

establish mastery of the relevant technology (by holding a specified technical degree or equivalent

training)  in  order  to  advise  and  assist  patent applicants.  The  candidate  must  also  pass  a  written

examination  (the  “Patent Bar”)  that  tests knowledge  of  patent law  and  PTO  procedure. —  Also

termed patent agent. Cf. PATENT ATTORNEY. [Cases: Patents    97. C.J.S. Patents §§ 135–138,

145, 178.]

agent  not recognized.Patents.  A  patent  applicant’s appointed  agent  who  is  not registered  to

practice  before  the  U.S.  Patent  and  Trademark  Office.  •  A  power  of  attorney  appointing  an

unregistered agent is void.

associate agent.An agent who is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark

Office, has been appointed by a principal agent, and is authorized to prosecute a patent application

through the filing of a power of attorney. • An associate agent is often used by outside counsel to

assist in-house counsel. [Blacks Law 8th]