In the common law world, agency is usually categorised as a core part of commercial law and taught as part of courses on commercial law in universities.  This is so even though its ambit and significance are much wider, so wide, in fact, that it is difficult to think of a single area of law in which agency principles, or rules of attribution reminiscent of agency principles, are not of great importance.  

This is problematic in two ways: lawyers who have not studied commercial law at university will not be familiar with an area of law that is actually of great importance to their practice and which they should, arguably, have been exposed to as part of their general legal education.  On the other hand, much time on commercial law courses is devoted to general agency principles (which, in my view at least, all law students should already be familiar with), leaving not enough time to study the ways in which agency law operates in the context of various commercial dealings.

This book helps with the second of these problems: it was conceived from the start as covering the ‘special part’ of agency law, namely the ways in which agency features in the commercial world.  This is a project not previously undertaken.  Thus, the book looks at agency in the context of company law, in the law of sale of goods, in the context of financial transactions and services (securities transactions, secured financing) and in the international context, in particular the still underexplored area of commercial agency.  The editors and many of the contributors are recognised experts in both agency and commercial law, but it is worth pointing out that amongst them are the previous and the current editor of Bowstead & Reynolds (Francis Reynolds and Peter Watts), the leading English agency text, as well as the reporter of the current US Restatement of Agency (Deborah DeMott).

The book is aimed at both academics and legal practitioners.  Many of its chapters will be a useful addition to reading lists of courses on commercial law, and they will certainly widen the understanding of academic lawyers on how agency principles are relied upon in a variety of commercial contexts.  Practitioners will be able to use the book as a valuable practice-oriented resource.  The book will be published on 28 January 2016, and is available for purchase from Oxford University Press.

The Oxford Commercial Law Centre is very happy to be able to provide the setting in which this important book will be launched, and to provide a forum in which major issues raised by some of the papers in the book will be debated.   The launch will take place on 26th February 2016 at Brasenose College, Oxford and will be streamed as a live webinar.