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Introduction to Agencies


actual authority

specific and expressly conferred authority and power that a principal gives an agent to perform actions on the principal's behalf

administrative agency

organization that Congress, state legislatures, or local lawmakers task with implementing legislative acts

administrative law

law governing the creation and operation of all administrative agencies

administrative law judge

official presiding over administrative hearings to adjudicate claims and disputes governed by administrative law


person acting on behalf of a principal in an agency relationship. The principal has the ability to control the agent in all decisions.

apparent authority

situation when a reasonable third party believes that the agent had authority to act, whether or not the agent had actual authority


someone who works for another person or company for wages, salary, or other forms of compensation


person or company that hires others to work in return for salary, wages, or other forms of compensation


way that courts prevent parties from going back on their word. Even without a formal agency agreement, a principal cannot deny an agency relationship if their actions allow a third party to believe the agency relationship exists.

executive agency

type of administrative agency with power to enact laws within the scope of its authority, conduct investigations, and enforce laws; has a single administrator or director appointed by the president of the United States

express authority

authority specifically given by a principal to an agent, either in writing or verbally, for direction of actions within an agency

Federal Register Act

1935 law that established the Federal Register publications system, requiring agencies to publish more information related to rulemaking documents

fiduciary duty

requirement or responsibility to work in the best interest of a person or organization

general agent

person authorized to carry out duties and make decisions on behalf of a principal

implied authority

agents' authority to perform acts that are reasonably necessary to accomplish the expressly stated tasks and directives of a principal

independent agency

type of administrative agency established and governed by Congress that works outside of the executive governmental departments in a supervisory capacity; part of the executive branch

independent contractor

person or business that provides goods, services, or other tasks to a party that does not control the manner in which those items are provided


person or business within an agency relationship that has authority and that has the right to control an agent as they complete the assigned tasks

universal agent

agent who has authority to transact all the business of a principal in every capacity, as agreed upon in an agency