Liability of Agent
In a clear case of agency, the agent is not liable on the contract, and the principal is liable. Equally, the agent cannot enforce the contract on his own behalf. The principal may enforce the contract and the third party may enforce it against him.
A person may act as another’s agent, but may not disclose that his so acts. This may happen where the principal wishes to conceal his identity. Where the agent enters a contract/ transaction with a third party, without disclosing that he is an agent, the agent is liable under the contract. If the third party discovers the undisclosed principal, he may enforce the contract against either the agent or the principal.
It may be that the agent has been selected for a personal reason such as by reason of his skill, solvency, et cetera. If the contract is personal in this sense, the undisclosed agent may not intervene to take advantage of it.
Warrant of Authority
The general principle is that an agent may not delegate the performance of his duties in whole or in part, without the authority of his principal. It is presumed that he should perform his obligations and duties personally. The agent may delegate performance if the right to do so is provided by the agreement or is implied.
Right to Delegate
Where there is express authority to delegate performance, the position will usually be clear. The right to delegate is often implied. Delegation of performance may be a practical necessity in some cases. The agent may be an intermediary, without the legal or technical capacity to perform.
The person to whom a delegation is made is a sub-agent. The same principles as apply between principal and agent, apply between agent and sub-agent. Generally, the sub-agent is liable only to the agent.
Where the principal is party to the appointment of the sub-agent, or subsequently adopts or ratifies the appointment, then there may be a direct contractual relationship (and accordingly, mutual obligations) between the principal and sub-agent. The agent may have authority to create this relationship by the terms of his appointment.