Agency law is based on a trusting relationship between two parties or individuals. Critical thinking skills, such as identifying ethical norms and missing information, are especially important when thinking about agency relationships.

 1. Agency relationships are frequently used in modern society. Businesses increasingly rely on agents to conduct their business with customers. What ethical norms would businesses expect their agents to hold and act on in carrying out their responsibilities? Clue: Look at the list of ethical norms and ask yourself: Which would be most important to a business?

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 2. As you will soon learn, agency relationships can be formed by informal oral agreements or by formal written contracts. Judges are often faced with the task of determining whether an agency relationship exists when there is an informal oral agreement (and sometimes, even when there is a formal written contract), or whether an agency relationship exists after an agent has performed a task. What kinds of information would be especially important to a judge in deciding whether an agency relationship had been established? Clue: What would tend to happen if a business formed a relationship with an employee to carry out a task?

3. Consider the definitions of justice in Chapter 1. How might the fact that the agent has already performed the task affect the judge’s decision? Clue: Do any of the definitions of justice give special guidance here?


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