D was an agent for M. D engaged KF to be a surveyor to provide services for M. D always made clear that he was an agent and for M, but he mis-named M’s legal name when he signed a contract on M’s behalf. M did not pay the fees to KF. KF sued D. Under agency contract law, an agent cannot be sued for his principal’s breach of contract as long as the agent acts within his authority, he has not agreed to take on any additional liability and, crucially, he has identified the principal to the other party. KF argued that D had not adequately identified the principal here and so D should be liable for the debt.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with KF. D had always acted within the scope of his authority and had not agreed to take on any additional liability. Also, he was not liable for failure to identify the principal. He had always identified the principal even if he got the name wrong. KF did not provide any evidence to show that the mistaken legal name had induced it to enter into a contract that it would otherwise not have done. Further, KF could have found out the correct name if it had wanted to do so.