INSTRUCTIONS, practice. The statements of a cause of action, given by a client to his attorney, and which, where such is the practice, are sent to his pleader to put into legal form of a declaration. Warr. Stud. 284.
2. Instructions to counsel are their indemnity for any aspersions they may make on the opposite party; but attorneys who have a just regard to their own reputation will be cautious, even under instructions, not to make any unnecessary attack upon a party or witness. For such unjustifiable conduct the counsel will be held responsible. Eunom. Dial. 2, 43, p. 132. For a form of instructions, see 3 Chit. Pr. 117, and 120 n.
INSTRUCTIONS, com. law, Contracts. Orders given by a principal to his agent in relation to the business of his agency.
2. The agent is bound to obey the instructions he has received and when he neglects so to do, he is responsible for the consequences, unless he is justified by matter of necessity. 4 Binn. R. 361; 1 Liverm. Agency, 368.
3. Instructions differ materially from authority, as regards third persons. When a written authority is known to exist, or, by the nature of the transaction, it is presupposed, it is the duty of persons dealing with an agent to ascertain the nature and extent of his authority; but they are not required to make inquiry of the agent as to any private instructions from his principal, for the obvious reason that they may be presumed to be secret and of a confidential nature, and therefore not to be communicated to third persons. 5 Bing. R. 442.
4. Instructions are given as applicable to the usual course of things, and are subject to two qualifications which are naturally, and perhaps necessarily implied in every mercantile agency. 1. As instructions are applicable only to the ordinary course of affairs, the agent will be justified, in cases of extreme necessity and unforeseen emergency, in deviating from them; as, for example, when goods on hand are perishable and perishing, or when they are accidentally injured and must be sold to prevent further loss; or if they are in imminent danger of being lost by the capture of the port where they are, they may be transferred to another port. Story on Ag. 85, 118, 193; 3 Chit. Com. Law, 218; 4 Binn. 361; 1 Liverm. on Ag. 368. 2. Instructions must be lawful; if they are given to perform an unlawful act, the agent is not bound by them. 4 Campb. 183; Story on Ag. 195. But the lawfulness of such instruction does not relate to the laws of foreign countries. Story, Confl. of Laws, 245; 1 Liverm. on Ag. 15-19. As to the construction of letters of instruction, see 3 Wash. C. C. R. 151; 4 Wash. C. C. R. 551; 1 Liv. on Ag. 403; Story on Ag. 74; 2 Wash. C. C. R. 132; 2 Crompt. & J. 244; 1 Knapp,, R. 381.