News and Information
December 13, 2013

Comments Sought on UPL Proposal

Updated April 8, 2014:

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law has withdrawn proposed amendments to UPR 1-101 regarding non-lawyer representation under a power of attorney.


Originally Posted: Dec 13, 2013:

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law is seeking comments on a proposal concerning representation before general district courts. Comments are due by January 24, 2014 to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 707 E. Main St., Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219-2800 or to publiccomment@vsb.org.

UPR 1-101 REPRESENTATION BEFORE TRIBUNALS

(D)  A non-lawyer, who is a friend or relative and holds a power of attorney for a principal who grants general authority with respect to claims and litigation pursuant to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, may represent that principal in any civil action at law before a general district court when the amount in controversy does not exceed the sum of $5,000, exclusive of interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.  In carrying out this representation, the non-lawyer holding the power of attorney may appear, prepare and file pleadings and briefs, examine witnesses and present legal arguments on behalf of the principal.  The non-lawyer agent shall not be compensated directly or indirectly for providing this representation before a court or take any assignment of the principal’s claim or cause of action. 

UPC 1-6.  Paragraph (D) of this rule allows, but does not require, a friend or relative who is not a lawyer, holding an individual power of attorney for a principal that grants general authority with respect to claims and litigation to represent that principal, before a general district court within the limits set out in Paragraph (D).  This rule was added to address circumstances where the principal does not understand or cannot participate on his own behalf; or it is not practical or cost-effective for the principal to appear in court or hire a lawyer.   In its discretion, a court may decline to allow a non-lawyer to proceed with such representation.

Updated: Apr 08, 2014