( 467 )
Present Jayewardene A.J.
VELANTHAPILLAI v. HARMANIS APPU38—C. B. Colombo, 53,798.Agent—Sale of goods—Payment of bearer cheques—Implied authority topledge principal's credit.
v An agency must be antecedently given or subsequently adoptedin order to bind the principal by the act of the agent. Am authoritymay- also be implied from circumstances.
Where . the defendant was in the habit of purchasing goods from'the plaintiff's firm through an agent to whom he gave cheques,payable to bearer,- to pay for the value of the goods—
Held, that no authority to the agent to pledge the principal’scredit may be implied from the circumstances.
PPEAL from a judgment, of the Commissioner of Requests,Colombo.
Nadarajah, for. appellant.
Rajapakse, for respondent.
July 2, 1930. Jayewardene A.J.—
The plaintiff sued the defendant to recover the value of somesugar alleged to have been sold by the plaintiff to the defendant.It appeared that one Carolis was in the habit of purchasing goodsfrom the plaintiff’s firm for the defendant who was trading at Galle,and the question was whether Carolis had the defendant’s authorityto pledge defendant’s credit. It would appear that Carolis wasgiven money in the shape of cheques payable to bearer wheneverhe was sent to Colombo to purchase goods.
( 468 )
The ledgers of both plaintiff and defendant .showed that therewere special pages for dealings on credit, but no transactionsbetween plaintiff and defendant have been so entered in the booksof either.
The learned Judge has found that the defendant, did not expresslyor impliedly authorize the plaintiff to give goods on credit to Carolisor hold him out to the world as his agent entitled to pledge hiscredit. There was no evidence of any subsequent ratification.The nature of the business did not necessitate as a custom of thetrade that goods should be purchased on credit. On the contrary,it would seem that Carolis was sufficiently funded for his purchasesat this time, but disappeared soon after embezzling some moneyof the defendant. An agency must be antecedently given or subse-quently adopted to subject the principal to the act of the agent.An authority may also be implied from circumstances.
In Rusby n. Scarlett1 the plaintiff who was a corn-chandler soughtto recover the price of a quantity of hay and straw, sold by theplaintiff, for the use of the defendant’s horses. The defence wasthat the defendant had given money to his coachman to pay thebills, which he embezzled. Lord Ellenborough held that if theservant was always in cash beforehand, to pay for the goods, themaster was not liable, as he never authorized him to pledge hiscredit; but if the servant was not in cash, he gave him a right totake up the goods on credit.
In Daun v. Simmons 2 it was held that, where an agent had noexpressed authority to pledge his master’s credit, an authority may yetbe implied from circumstances. Blit in order that such an implicationmay arise, there must be circumstances from which the public mayinfer that an authority exists, which in fact does not. In that casethe manager of a public house was authorized in fact to pledge hismaster’s credit or “ tied ” to particular dealers, and it was held thathe had no implied authority to order from dealers other than thoseto whom he was “ tied. ” In Watteau v. Fenwick,3 * however, creditwas given to the licensee and the owners were held liable on theprinciple that, goods of the description bought are usually suppliedto licensees and that the principal is liable for all the acts of theAgent which are within the authority usually confided to an agentof that character, notwithstanding limitations, as between theprincipal and the agent, put upon that authority. The sameprinciple was adopted in Knahan v. Parry,* bu.t the Court of Appeqlreversed this judgment on the ground that there was no proof ofagency in point of fact.5
3 (1893) 1 Q. B. 346.
‘ (1910) 2 K. B. 389.
1 (1803) 6 Espinasse 76.• (1879) 41 L. T. 783.
• (1911) 1 K. B. 459.
The case that comes nearest to the present one is Rutherford v. 1980Ounan,1 where an unsuccessful attempt was made to hold a Jayewar-person liable on a bill given by her son on the purchase of sheep by DENB A.J.him at a mart, when the jury found that he was in the habit of Velantha-buying and selling for her, but that he had not on any previous pMa*occasion purchased on credit as her agent.Harmanis
Iu my opinion the learned Judge has arrived at a right conclusion Appuon the foots aud on the law.
I dismiss the appeal with costs.
VELANTHAPILLAI v. HARMANIS APPU