Scope of Authority Law & Legal Definition


Scope of authority is a term used in agency law to determine whether a principal is liable for the acts of his/her agent. It is not necessary that the conduct of the agent be expressly authorized by the principal or be undertaken for the benefit of the principal for such conduct to be within the scope of the agent's authority. Conduct which is incidental to, customarily connected with or reasonably necessary for the performance of an authorized act is within the scope of the agent's authority.

An agent is not acting within the scope of authority while engaged in the ordinary commute to and from the place of work. However, if the agent is coming from home or returning to it on a special errand either as part of regular duties, or at the specific order or request of the principal, the agent is acting within the scope of authority from the time of starting on the errand until return, or until completely abandoning the business errand for personal reasons. A mere deviation for personal reasons is not a complete abandonment. An agent acts within the scope of authoritywhen pursuing simultaneously a business errand and a personal objective.