Respondeat Superior

Latin maxim meaning ‘let the master answer [for his servant.]’ It defines the principle that an employer is responsible for the acts of its employees in the course of their employment and a principal responsible for the acts of its agent. The scope of employer liability can vary from country to country, so that a range of unauthorized acts can give rise to liability. More dangerous is respondeat superior in the agency context, since an agent is supposed to be under the control of, and acting for the principal and also, because if an injured party reasonably believed the injurer to be acting as agent for a principal, even if the agent had not been so appointed, there is a strong risk that the inadvertent principal could be held liable. For this reason one should never allow a third party to hold itself forth as acting on your behalf without a formal agency arrangement.

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