Volume 6, Issue 2, December 2016 Juridical Tribune
The agent acts on behalf of the principal, pursuing the interests of the
principal, within a long-term relationship of collaboration between both, whose key
feature is the obligation to promote the conclusion of contracts.
The obligation to promote the conclusion of contracts is based on a
multiplicity of material acts designed to seek potential buyers, to encourage and
increase the conclusion of contracts relating to goods or services, collecting
purchase orders and communicating them to the principal.
Stability is another essential element, as a result of which the agent's
activity is a series of acts intended to be carried out during the period for which the
contract has been determined, within the framework of a long-term relationship.
The economic results that the parties aim at achieving within the agency
contract can only be attained in a stable and lasting relationship.
The autonomy of the agent is also an essential element of the agency
contract, notwithstanding its obligations as regards to follow principal guidelines
and to provide a regular report of its activity.
We adopt, as the Portuguese legislator in Decreto-Lei nº 178/86, de 3 de Julho, t he term principal
to designate t he agent's counterpart. See Pinto M onteiro, Contrato de agência (Anteprojecto), BMJ
nº 360, 1986, pp . 60-62. The Spanish legislator has adopted the t erm empresario.
Pinto Mont eiro, Contrato de agência (Anteprojecto), cited above, p . 48, Martinez Sanz, La
indemnización por clientela en los contratos de agencia y concesión, 2ª ed., Civitas, Madrid, 1998,
The pursuit by the agent of the interests of principal led the German literature to include t his
contract in the category of geschäftsbesorgungsvertrag. See Canaris, Handelsrecht, 23 Auflag,
Verlag C H Beck, München, 2000, p. 322.
See P into Mont eiro, Contrato de agência (Anteprojecto), cited above, p p. 54-55, Manuel Broseta
Pont, Manual de Derecho Mercantil, Vol. II, F ernando M artinez Sanz (coord.), 15ª ed., T ecnos,
Madrid, 2008, pp . 122 ff.
The agent performs in this contractual scheme obligations of means and result. On the one hand,
the p romotion, dissemination of p roducts and clients acquisition s eem to be obligations of means,
on the ot her hand, the obligation to p repare contracts that will later be fulfilled by the principal
seems to be an obligation of result, since the commission is indexed to contracts promoted by the
agent and fulfilled by the p rincipal. In the same sense, Roberto Baldi, Il contratto di agenzia. La
concessione di vendita. Il franschising, 7ª ed., Giuffrè Editore, M ilano, 2001, pp . 29-30, Marino
Perassi, Il contratto di agenzia , “Trat tato di Diritto Commerciale e di Diritto Pubblico
del’economia”, Vol. XVI, “Contrat ti commerciali”, D iretto da Francesco Galgano, Cedam,
Padova, 1991, p. 423.
Galgano, Diritto civile e commerciale, Vol. III, T omo I, Cedam, Padova, 1990, p. 13 and Saracino
E/Toffoletto F, Il contratto di agenzia, “ Il Codice Civile - Commentario”, diretto da Schlesinger,
Giuffrè, Milano, p. 40, sust ain that is an obligation of means.
Ghezzi, Del contratto di agenzia,“ Commentario del Codicie Civile a cura di A . Scialoja e G.
Branca”, Libro quarto: Delle Obblizazioni art. 1742-1753, Zanichelli, Bolonia-Roma, 1970, p. 4,
This is the hallmark of t he agency contract towards the brokerage contract. See Roberto Baldi, Il
contratto di agenzia, cited above, pp. 47-48, M aria Teresa Caracciolo, Il contratto di agenzia, “I
contratti di distribuzione. Agenzia, mediazione, promozione finanziaria, concessione di vendita,
franchising. Figure classiche e new economy”, a cura di Giusepp e Cassano, Giuffrè, Milano, 2006,
This feature distinguishes the agency contract from the employment contract, characterized by t he
legal subordination of the employee towards the employer. See Pedro Romano Mart inez, Direito
do Trabalho, 7ª ed., Almedina, Coimbra, 2015, pp . 346 ff.