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A person appointed to manage the affairs of another or to represent another in a judgment.In English Law, the name formerly given to practitioners in ecclesiastical and admiralty courts who performed duties similar to those of solicitors in ordinary courts.

In old English law, a proctor was an attorney who practiced in the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts. Proctors, also known as procurators, served a similar function as solicitors in the ordinary courts of England. The title of proctor was merged with that of solicitor in 1873, but it is sometimes used in the United States to designate practitioners in probate and admiralty courts.

The use of proctors and procurators was an important step in English law because it signified the acceptance of Legal Representation. Procuration allowed one person to give power to another to act in his behalf. The proctor became the agent of the client, legally entitled to perform all actions that the client could have performed.

A "procuracy" was the writing or instrument that authorized a proctor or procurator to act. The document called a "power of attorney," which authorizes an attorney or agent to represent a person's interests, is based on this relationship. A Power of Attorney may be general, giving the agent blanket authority to perform all necessary acts for the person, or specific, limiting the agent to certain actions.

The term procuracy was shortened to proxy, which has gained a more specific meaning. A proxy is a person who is substituted or designated by another to represent her, usually in a meeting or before a public body. Shareholders in a corporation commonly use a written proxy to give someone else the right to vote their shares at a shareholders' meeting.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) in admiralty (maritime) law, an attorney. 2) person who keeps order.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

PROCTOR. One appointed to represent in judgment the party who empowers him, by writing under his hand called a proxy. The term is used chiefly in the courts of civil and ecclesiastical law. The proctor is somewhat similar to the attorney. Avl. Parerg. 421.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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