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most important. 1. in criminal law, one who commits an offense, or an accomplice actually or constructively present during commission of the offense. 2. in commercial law, the amount received in loan, or the amount upon which interest is charged; 3. in the law of agency, one who has permitted or engaged another to act for his or her benefit, in accordance with his or her direction and subject to his or her control. 4. chief, superintendent. compare principle.
DISCLOSED PRINCIPAL one whose identity is known to the party dealing with the agent
PARTIALLY DISCLOSED PRINCIPAL one whose identity is not known, but whose existence is known, to the party with whom the agent deals
UNDISCLOSED PRINCIPAL one of whose existence the party dealing with the agent is unaware - i.e., the third party does not know he or she is dealing with an agent. EXAMPLE: Tara buys property for Sphinx Mall Company. Sphinx desires to be an undisclosed principal because it believes that land prices would skyrocket if sellers knew the identiy of the real purchaser.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016