A CLASSIC AND DEFINITIVE WORK, NOW COMPLETELY UP TO DATE
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
This is a practitioner's book; the main objective of which, is to state and explain the law of agency, rather than to re-shape it. From the date of its first publication in 1896, (edited from 1896 to 1932 by William Bowstead), this formidable and scholarly volume has carried the weight of unassailable authority and has acquired a towering reputation as the definitive work of reference within this area of law.
In case you need reminding, agency is as much a concept as a word (estate agents, advertising agents and so forth) and therein lies the complexity of it all. Agency in a strictly legal context is described under the chapter heading `Nature of the Subject' as 'the fiduciary relationship between two persons', the agent and the principal, (we're simplifying here) one of whom agrees to act on the other's behalf. The person who thus acts is the agent; the other on whose behalf he acts is the principal. Anyone other than the agent, or principal may be referred to as the third party.
Significantly, this latest edition -- the nineteenth -- is noteworthy for being the first edition of Bowstead since the 13th edition of 1968, to involve a new author, Peter Watts, who, on the recommendation of Prof. Reynolds, has assumed principal responsibility for the preparation of this edition, in which Prof. Reynolds has nevertheless maintained a continuing and significant role. This edition contains `a myriad of minor (updating) changes and quite a number of significant ones' says Prof. Watts -- even though much effort has been made to retain the existing text.
Much new material has been added to the book since the previous edition of 2006, including around 150 new English cases, with every chapter affected.
Without going into detail, the most significant changes have taken place in three major areas. One concerns the duties an agent owes his principal. The second is the increased reference to the application of agency law in the operation of companies, many of which of course have to operate through agents - hence the prominence of agency law in company law. Third, there's a new chapter by Reynolds on the conflict of laws in agency law, a difficult area, as the author points out.
For these and almost innumerable other reasons, you'll need this book in its latest edition in order to provide your clients with the most up to date advice on agency. `Very few parts of the book have failed to acquire new case law,' warns the author.
This is indeed a formidable and careful work of reference. The Tables of Cases section alone (alphabetized) is at least 130 pages long and cites cases from a variety of jurisdictions, besides the UK, including Europe, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to name only a few. Tables of Statutes and Statutory Instruments are also included and there is a detailed index for ease of reference. The law addressed is at 31 March 2010: Bowstead & Reynolds remains the classic and definitive work.