Starmer dumps doormat?

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at
Thu Jan 20 19:07:02 GMT 2011

On 20/01/2011 15:34, Peter Tomlinson wrote:
> On 20/01/2011 14:37, Nicholas Bohm wrote:
>> On 20/01/2011 09:31, Andrew Cormack wrote:
>> ...
>>>  From papers at law conferences discussing whether avatars could be
>>> agents (really!) I suspect that in current law an agent has to be
>>> human. But there are definitely legal problems around the status of
>>> "software agents", so that may be the way the law is heading. If I
>>> find time to investigate I'll try to remember to report back here.
>> ...
>> An agent is a person with power to alter the legal relationships of his
>> principal.
> I thought that that is the definition of a representative. But maybe I
> sometimes move in different circles...
>> Both must be entities recognised by the law as having legal
>> personality (i.e. individuals or corporations).
>> Nicholas

"Agent" is a term with a specific legal meaning, though of course it
isn't always used with that meaning (e.g. "software agent").

"Representative" has no general legal meaning (though it does have some
particular ones, as in "legal personal representative" which means an
executor or administrator of the estate of someone who has died).  In a
commercial context a representative might have agency powers, and be
capable of committing a principal to a sale, but equally might not, and
might be a mere introducer.

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