Imageview Management Ltd v Jack: CA 13 Feb 2009

The appellant company acted for the respondent footballer in placing him with a football club. The respondent said that he had also taken a payment from the club, nominally for arranging a work permit. The respondent said this was improper. The agent now appealed.
Held: The side deal was and act within the agency and should have been disclosed. This was not an honest breach of contract. This was a secret profit and a breach of fiduciary duty because of the conflict of interest. Not only was the secret payment to be paid across, but no further agency fees were payable.
Jacob LJ said: ‘The law imposes on agents high standards. Footballers’ agents are not exempt from these. An agent’s own personal interests come entirely second to the interest of his client. If you undertake to act for a man you must act 100%, body and soul, for him. You must act as if you were him. You must not allow your own interest to get in the way without telling him. An undisclosed but realistic possibility of a conflict of interest is a breach of your duty of good faith to your client.’ and ‘I accept [counsel for the agent’s] submission that there can be cases of harmless collaterality. And that there can be cases where there is just an honest breach of contract such as Keppel’s case [1927] 1 KB 577. But this is simply not such a case. This is a case of a secret profit obtained because Mr Berry/Imageview was Mr Jack’s agent. And there was a breach of a fiduciary duty because of a real conflict of interest. That in itself would be enough, but there is more: the profit was not only greater than the work done but was related to the very contract which was being negotiated for Mr Jack. Once a conflict of interest is shown, as Atkin LJ said in the last passage quoted, the right to remuneration goes’.
and ‘The policy reason runs as follows. We are here concerned not with merely damages such as those for a tort or breach of contract but with what the remedy should be when the agent has betrayed the trust reposed in him – notions of equity and conscience are brought into play. Necessarily such a betrayal may not come to light. If all the agent has to pay if and when he is found out are damages the temptation to betray the trust reposed in him is all the greater. So the strict rule is there as a real deterrent to betrayal. As Scrutton LJ said in Rhodes’s case 29 Com Cas 19, 28, ‘The more that principle is enforced, the better for the honesty of commercial transactions”.

Mummery LJ, Dyson LJ, Jacob LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 63, [2009] WLR (D) 56, [2009] 1 All ER (Comm) 921, [2009] 2 All ER 666, [2009] 1 BCLC 724, [2009] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 436, [2009] Bus LR 1034
Bailii, Times, WLRD
England and Wales
CitedSalomons v Pender 21-Apr-1865
When a person who purports to act as an agent is not in a position to say to his principal, ‘I have been acting as your agent, and I have done my duty by you,’ he is not entitled to recover any commission from that principal.
Bramwell B said: . .
CitedHippisley v Knee Bros CA 1903
The defendant auctioneers were employed by the plaintiff to sell some goods. The payment was to be percentage commission with a minimum of andpound;20, certain fixed amounts and ‘all out of pocket’ expenses, particularly advertising. The sale . .
CitedBoston Deep Sea Fishing and Ice Co v Ansell CA 1888
An employer having dismissed an employee (its managing director) later learnt of the employee’s fraud.
Held: The employer was allowed to rely upon that fraud to justify the dismissal. Where an agent is in wrongful repudiation of his contract . .
CitedAndrews v Ramsay 1903
The plaintiff asked the defendant estate agents to find a purchaser for his property at a price of pounds 2,500 and if one such was found the agents’ fee would be pounds 50. A purchaser, one Clutterbuck, at pounds 2,100 was found. He paid the agents . .
CitedNitedals Taenstikfabrik v Bruster 1906
Commission was allowed for an agent despite an alleged breach of duty. Neville J discussed Andrews v Ramsay saying its doctrine: ‘does not apply to the case of an agency where the transactions in question are separable’ . .
CitedStubbs v Slater 1910
A deposit by guarantors who had agreed ‘to assign to [the Bank] their certificates of shares in [PPL] by way of deposit’, together with endorsed transfers in blank, would create an equitable mortgage with an implied power of sale. Neville J . .
CitedRhodes v Macalister CA 1923
The plaintiff agent acted to find a seller of mineral rights for the defendant principal. He told his principal that the properties could be purchased for from andpound;8,000 to andpound;10,000. If the agent could find a seller at below . .
CitedKeppel v Wheeler CA 1927
The plaintiff engaged the defendant estate agents to sell a property, instructing them to market it at 6,500 pounds but that he would accept 6,000 pounds. The plaintiff accepted an offer of 6,150 pounds ‘subject to contract’. Before exchange, . .
CitedO’Sullivan v Management Agency and Music Limited CA 1985
The claimant alleged undue influence. As a young singer he had entered into a management agreement with the defendant which he said were prejudicial and unfair. The defendant argued that the ‘doctrine of restitutio in integrum applied only to the . .
CitedDalkia Utilities Services Plc v Celtech International Ltd ComC 27-Jan-2006
The Court was asked to decide (i) which, if either, of the two parties to a 15 year agreement lawfully terminated it; (ii) whether, if one of them did so, it was by giving notice under a contractual termination clause or by way of acceptance of the . .
CitedPhipps v Boardman HL 3-Nov-1966
A trustee has a duty to exploit any available opportunity for the trust. ‘Rules of equity have to be applied to such a great diversity of circumstances that they can be stated only in the most general terms and applied with particular attention to . .
CitedRobinson Scammel v Ansell 1985
. .
CitedKelly v Cooper and Another PC 25-Nov-1992
There was a dispute between a client and an estate agent in Bermuda. The client sued the estate agent for damages for breach of duty in failing to disclose material information to him and for putting himself in a position where his duty and his . .
CitedWarman International Ltd v Dwyer 1995
(High Court of Australia) A fiduciary diverted a business in breach of his fiduciary duty.
Held: ‘The outcome in cases of this kind will depend upon a number of factors. They include the nature of the property, the relevant powers and . .
CitedMurad and Another v Al Saraj and Another CA 29-Jul-2005
An account of profits is available without proof of loss, and the onus is upon the defaulting party to show that profits are not ones for which he should account . .

Cited by:
CitedAvrahami and Others v Biran and Others ChD 25-Jun-2013
Management fees were to be forfeited for breach of a fiduciary duty by an agent. . .
CitedHosking v Marathon Asset Management Llp ChD 5-Oct-2016
Loss of agent’s share for breach within LLP
The court was asked whether the principle that a fiduciary (in particular, an agent) who acts in breach of his fiduciary duties can lose his right to remuneration, is capable of applying to profit share of a partner in a partnership or a member of a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Agency, Equity

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.282631