Under the normal circumstances for the purposes of legal process or to perform the legal duties or to transact in any other manner, person himself and if he is not in a position to do so may authorize anybody to act on his behalf. In first instance the person who gives right to the other to perform duty on his behalf is called “Principal” and the person to whom the authority is given is called “Attorney”. The Principal may authorize the Attorney not to pursue his cases only but also to compromise or settle the matters on his behalf. In these circumstances all the acts performed by the Attorney will be deemed to be performed by the Principal who will be responsible for the acts done by the Attorney as he has done them himself.
There are two kinds of Power of Attorneys: General Power of Attorney and Special Power of Attorney.
General Power of Attorney means that Attorney may perform more than one job on behalf of the Principal and all his acts will be binding on the Principal as done by him and under his authority.
Special Power of Attorney is for only a specific purpose which is explained in that deed of Special Power of Attorney.
It is relevant to mention here that power of attorney either General or Special given by the Principal to the Attorney must be in writing and it cannot be given orally. If Power of Attorney is for any immovable property, sale or for mortgage then it should be registered under section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908.
Power of Attorney should be attested: All the documents written as a Power of Attorney should be authenticated by a Notary Public, any Court, Judge, Magistrate, Pakistan Consul or Vice-Consul, or representative appointed by the Federal Government, and then it will be presumed correct.
Necessary requirements of Power of Attorney: Every Pakistani citizen who is a major, adult and according to law is competent to enter into a contract whether resides in Pakistan or outside Pakistan may authorize any other person through power of attorney to act on his behalf. If power of attorney is executed outside the country then Pakistani Embassy or consulate’s authorized officer will verify it and if the power of attorney relates to transfer of property then it should be registered in Pakistan with the concerned registrar.
Power of Attorney in Civil Cases: Civil cases can be pursued through power of attorney i.e. to appear in the court, to move application and to proceed in the matter. In civil cases the Attorney can do each and every act on behalf of the Principal. Service of summons/notices of the court on the Attorney will be presumed to be service on the Principal. For all these matters no court will allow the Attorney to act on behalf of the Principal unless Power of Attorney is there.
Civil and Criminal liabilities of Principal and Attorney: Civil liability of Principal; if in performance of acts according to the power of attorney the third party suffers a loss then the Principal will be responsible subject to authorizing for the same act in the power of attorney. Civil liability of Attorney; in case of any action for which he is not authorized he will be responsible for the losses occurred to the third party on the basis of such act.
Criminal liability of Principal and Attorney: Criminal liability of Principal; under normal circumstances the Principal will not be responsible for the criminal acts of the Attorney. Criminal responsibility of the Attorney; if Attorney is found guilty of breach of trust then he can be preceded under section 406 and 409 of Pakistan Penal Code and be punished.
Cancellation of Power of Attorney: The Principal can cancel the Power of Attorney whether General or Special at any time or in case of death of Attorney or the Principal, it will be cancelled automatically. In the first instance, concerned Registrar where Power of Attorney is registered will cancel it and it will also be published in a newspaper. Power of Attorney will also be cancelled if the job/assignment for which it was given is completed.