Liability for Negotiable Instrument Signed by Agent
When is the Principal or Agent Liable?
If you still have questions or prefer to get help directly from an agent, please submit a request.
We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Accounting, Taxation, and Reporting
Law, Transactions, & Risk Management
Government, Legal System, Administrative Law, & Constitutional Law Legal Disputes - Civil & Criminal Law Agency Law HR, Employment, Labor, & Discrimination Business Entities, Corporate Governance & Ownership Business Transactions, Antitrust, & Securities Law Real Estate, Personal, & Intellectual Property Commercial Law: Contract, Payments, Security Interests, & Bankruptcy Consumer Protection Insurance & Risk Management Immigration Law Environmental Protection Law Inheritance, Estates, and Trusts
- Marketing, Advertising, Sales & PR
- Business Management & Operations
- Economics, Finance, & Analytics
- Professionalism & Career Development
When is an individual (including businesses) liable for a representative signing a negotiable instrument?
If a representative (an agent) signs a commercial instrument on behalf of a the represented person or business (the principal), the principal is bound and made liable by the representative signing either the principals name or the agents name. The representative is not liable on the instrument if:
- the form of the signature shows unambiguously that the signature is made on behalf of the represented person, and
- the instrument identifies the represented person.
This standard goes beyond the contract law standards for agent authority and principal liability.
Note: Special rules apply for promoters of business entities that do not yet exist.
Next Article: Lost Negotiable Instruments Back to: COMMERCIAL PAPER
Discussion: Why do you think the standard for holding a principal liable for an agents signature on a negotiable instrument is more broad than under agency law? Do you think an agent should have the ability to subject a principal to liability in the context of negotiable instruments? Why or why not? Should any additional regulations or other protections apply in this scenario?
Practice Question: Marshal is an agent of Clayton. Marshal signs a promissory note on behalf of Clayton and transfers it to Travis. What procedures must Travis have followed to make Clayton responsible for Marshals actions?