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Solicitors advised to check POA documents in wake of sheriff judgment

03 June 2014 | tagged News release

The Law Society of Scotland is advising solicitors to review the wording of powers of attorney documents in the wake of legal opinion from Sheriff Baird, Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin, who determined that the power of attorney considered by him was invalid.

Sheriff Baird found that the style of the power of attorney document used by the Clydesdale Bank in a particular case was not in accordance with section 15 of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. The power of attorney document used by the bank was in the style of those available on the Office of Public Guardian website and widely used.

Coral Riddell, Head of Professional Practice at the Law Society, said: "In his opinion, Sheriff Baird has acknowledged that the consequences of his decision could be that other powers of attorney in a similar style could also be invalid. This could have very serious implications for solicitors and some of their most vulnerable clients.

"We intend to look into the matter more closely, but in the meantime are advising solicitors to review any power of attorney documentation they hold and consider whether they should alter the wording.  

"We are aware that the sheriff's decision is under appeal and will continue to keep our members updated."

Further information on this issue is available on the Law Society website: Power of Attorney

Sheriff Baird's opinion can be found on the Scottish Courts website: Opinion

Adrian Ward, Convener of the Law Society's Mental Health and Incapacity Committee, has also commented on the opinion in the latest Mental Capacity Law Newsletter

ENDS     

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Solicitors can contact the professional practice team at the Society at professionalpractice@lawscot.org.uk

Journalists can contact: Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 / valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

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