Whatever one’s views on the form of certification required to validate a copy power of attorney, if a copy does not comply with the requirements of s.3 Powers of Attorney Act 1971, or any alternative legal requirement, it is not a valid copy and cannot be used as proof of the power. S.3(1) states:
(1) The contents of an instrument creating a power of attorney may be proved by means of a copy which—(a) is a reproduction of the original made with a photographic or other device for reproducing documents in facsimile; and (b) contains the following certificate or certificates signed by the donor of the power or by a solicitor, authorised person or stockbroker, that is to say — (i) a certificate at the end to the effect that the copy is a true and complete copy of the original; and (ii) if the original consists of two or more pages, a certificate at the end of each page of the copy to the effect that it is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original.
It is not for either The Law Society or STEP to tell the banks, or any other institution, that they need to accept a document that falls short of the legal requirement. If change is required, it is for Parliament to enact the appropriate legislation.
When the 1971 Act was passed, powers of attorney rarely extended beyond a single page. The page count increased with enduring powers, and has now exploded with lasting powers. Mindful of the ongoing distraction to Parliament’s business as usual, perhaps the way forward might be to encourage the promotion of a private member’s bill to resolve the situation?