Kwa Geok Choo Distinguished Visitors Lecture: Agency Reasoning – A Formula or a Tool?

Professor Francis Reynolds

NUS Law was delighted to host the 12th Kwa Geok Choo Distinguished Visitors Lecture with Professor Francis Reynolds who presented a lecture titled, "Agency reasoning – A formula or a tool" on 17 August 2017. A lively discussion followed which was chaired by Professor Tan Cheng Han '87, Chairman, EW Barker Centre for Law & Business.

In the lecture, Professor Reynolds talked about how the use of agents pervades commercial and even personal relations. He said that everyone deals with, or act as agents much of the time, yet “no word is more commonly and constantly abused than the word ‘agent’. A person may be spoken of as an ‘agent’, and no doubt in the proper sense of the word may properly be said to be an ‘agent’, although when it is attempted to suggest that he is an ‘agent’ under such circumstances as create the legal obligations attached to agency that use of the word is only misleading.” This lecture aimed to distinguish full employment of the notion and its legal implications from situations where agency reasoning is invoked for limited purposes only.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Tan announced the establishment of the Francis Reynolds Prize in Domestic & International Sale of Goods, thanks to the generosity of a consortium of donors which included NUS Law faculty and alumni.

NUS Law established the Kwa Geok Choo Distinguished Visitors Programme as one of several initiatives to pay tribute to the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, Wife of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew (LL.D.’13 Honoris Causa). Under this programme, leading law academics are invited to teach a course at NUS and deliver public lectures on topical legal issues.

About the Speaker

Professor Francis Reynolds D.C.L., F.B.A., is an Emeritus Professor of Law in the University of Oxford, a barrister, Honorary Q.C. and Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple. He is standing consultant on English Law to Ang & Partners, Singapore; Honorary Professor, International Maritime Law Institute of the IMO, Malta; and Titular Member of the Comité Maritime International. He has held visiting professorships at many Commonwealth universities including NUS. He was the writer of Bowstead and Reynolds on Agency (to which he still contributes) between 1968 and 2013, the writer (with Sir Guenter Treitel) of Carver on Bills of Lading, and a contributor to Benjamin's Sale of Goods, Chitty on Contracts and English Private Law. He was the Editor of the Law Quarterly Review from 1987 to 2013. He is currently a Kwa Geok Choo Distinguished Visitor at NUS Law, where he is teaching ‘Law of Agency’.

From left: Dean Simon Chesterman, Professor Francis Reynolds and Professor Tan Cheng Han

Dean Simon Chesterman giving the welcome address.

Professor Tan Cheng Han and Professor Francis Reynolds led a lively discussion with the audience.