Proctors of Admiralty and Maritime Law
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.