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The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Decisions
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Cite as:  UKPC 5
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 UKPC 5
Privy Council Appeal No 0001 of 2012
American Jewellery Company Limited & others (Appellants) v Commercial Corporation Jamaica Limited & others (Respondents)
From the Court of Appeal of Jamaica
JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY
7 February 2013
Heard on 28 November 2012
Denise E. Kitson
(Instructed by M A Law (Solicitors) LLP)
(Instructed by St. John Law)
Orders made below
"An 'apparent' or 'ostensible' authority... is a legal relationship between the principal and the contractor created by a representation, made by the principal to the contractor, intended to be and in fact acted upon by the contractor, that the agent has authority to enter on behalf of the principal into a contract of a kind within the scope of the 'apparent' authority, so as to render the principal liable to perform any obligations imposed upon him by such contract...
The representation which creates 'apparent' authority may take a variety of forms of which the commonest is representation by conduct, that is, by permitting the agent to act in some way in the conduct of the principal's business with other persons."
"All that the opposing litigant need ask himself when testing the ostensible authority of the solicitor or counsel, is the question whether the compromise contains matters 'collateral to the suit'."
The judge added, at p388:
"I think it would be regrettable if this court were to place too restrictive a limitation on the ostensible authority of solicitors to bind their clients to a compromise. I do not think we should decide that matter is 'collateral' to the action unless it really involves extraneous subject matter... So many compromises are made in court, or in counsel's chambers, in the presence of the solicitor but not the client. This is almost inevitable so where a corporation is involved. It is highly undesirable that the court should place any unnecessary impediments in the way of that convenient procedure. A party on one side of the record and his solicitor ought usually to be able to rely without question on the existence of the authority of the solicitor on the other side of the record, without demanding that the seal of the corporation be affixed; or that a director should sign who can show that the articles confer the requisite power on him; or that the solicitor's correspondence with his client be produced to prove the authority of the solicitor."