Q&As

What does the term 'attorney-in-fact' mean? If a commercial agreement purporting to appoint an ‘attorney-in-fact’ is executed as a simple contract (eg within a distribution agreement), is this enforceable?

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Published on LexisPSL on 09/07/2015

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What does the term 'attorney-in-fact' mean? If a commercial agreement purporting to appoint an ‘attorney-in-fact’ is executed as a simple contract (eg within a distribution agreement), is this enforceable?
  • What does the term 'attorney-in-fact' mean?
  • Is a power of attorney valid if executed by simple contract, eg within a distribution agreement?

What does the term 'attorney-in-fact' mean?

We are not aware of a specific definition in English law of 'attorney-in-fact'. It appears that this term is more commonly used in the United States, to refer to an agent authorised to act under a power of attorney. It may be that the jurisdiction to which a particular agreement is specified to be subject has specific legislation or case law which provides rules for the correct appointment of an attorney-in-fact, and it would be necessary to check what those rules state in terms of:

  1. the formalities for the correct execution of the document dealing with the appointment and

  2. the remit of that appointment

In a UK context, our research does reveal examples of the term being used to refer to a party nominated to perform certain acts on behalf of another. An example of this term being used (albei

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