5 Exceptions to Delegatus Non Potest Delegare

a. Explain the various ways an agency relationship may arise. (5 marks)

b. State any five (5) exceptions to the general maxim ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ (5 marks)

c. Tom, Lam and Jin are partners in a firm called ‘APPLE Enterprise’ which deals with car equipment. The business has been doing very well and profits have always been shared equally among the three of them. However, Lam is planning to retire as a partner due to his deteriorating health.

Tom and Lam later discovered that Jin is in partnership with his brother in running a pub.

(i) Can Tom and Lam make Jin account for and pay to the firm all profits made by him from the pub? (5 marks)

(ii) What are the legal requirements and mode of giving notice of dissolution of partnership if Lam wants to retire? (5 marks)

(MIA QE 2009/3 Q3, 20 marks)


(a) Elaborate on the five ways in which an agency may arise or be created;

  • by express appointment,  S.139
  • by implied appointment, S.139
  • by ratification, S.149
  • by necessity, S.142
  • by the doctrine of estoppel or holding out

Similar question was asked in
MIA QE 2008/9 Q3 (a) with termination.
MIA QE 2009/3 Q3 (a)
MIA QE 2010/9 Q4 (e)
MIA QE 2011/3 Q4 (a)
MIA QE 2012/9 Q2 (b)
MIA QE 2014/9 Q2 (a)
MIA QE 2015/3 Q2 (a)

(b) 5 exceptions to the general maxim ‘delegatus non potest delegare’ - Exceptions to the general rule that an agent cannot delegate his duties;

Another post on 'Agent's agent' is for reference here.

  • Where the principal approves to the delegation of authority. S.145 'Representation of principal by sub-agent properly appointed'.
  • Where it is presumed from the conduct of the parties that the agent shall have the authority to delegate.
  • Where customs or practice allows delegation
  • Where delegation is necessary to complete the business
  • Delegation is purely ministerial/clerical
  • In case of an unforeseen emergency/necessity

'Delegatus Non Potest Delegare' is a Latin maxim which means that a delegated authority cannot further delegate.

This is one of the fundamental principles of administrative law. When a higher authority delegates an authority or decision-making power to a person or institution, that person or institution cannot delegate such authority to another unless there is explicit authorization for it in the original delegation.

(c) Not included in Syllabus.


MIA model answer from MIA website, available at