Real Time Web Analytics

Friday, February 8, 2019

Lawyers? Attorneys? Powers of Attorney? What's the difference?

Apparently I'm not the only person who becomes pedantic over language usage: I've recently read an article by Albert Oosterhoff, an eminent Toronto lawyer, in which he discusses the proper way to use the word "attorney" and the phrase "power of attorney".

In this article, Mr. Oosterhoff talks about the difference between the power of attorney, which is a document, and the attorney, which is a person who derives authority from a power of attorney. He notes that often the person is incorrectly referred to as being someone's "power of attorney" when they are not; they are actually the person's attorney. I hear people being referred to as "power of attorney" every day by clients, land registry staff, bankers, reporters, and lots of others. You might be glad to know that Mr. Oosterhoff is annoyed with lawyers for misusing these terms but really is okay with non-lawyers doing so. Click here to read the article.

This leads me to one of my own pet language peeves. Canadians are beginning to refer to lawyers as "attorneys" because they have heard that term so often on American TV. movies, and internet. In the USA, lawyers are called "Attorneys-at-law", which is usually shortened to "attorney". That usage is totally wrong in Canada because an "attorney", as you have seen above, is a person who is appointed under a power of attorney document.

2 comments:

  1. Barrister? Solicitor?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, even more legal terminology to cope with! These terms are based on the UK legal system, as of course is all Canadian law with the exception of Quebec. A barrister is a lawyer who goes to court. A solicitor is a lawyer who does more office-based work such as wills, contracts, corporate stuff. When there is a lawsuit, the solicitor prepares the case and the barrister goes to court to argue it.

      In real life, lawyers in Canada are both. We can choose to do both types of work, or not.

      Lynne

      Delete

You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails