The Supreme Court states on the subject of professional mandate and power of attorney for disputes
The lawyer acting for the recovery of the professional debt is obliged to prove the conferral of the professional mandate or the conclusion of the legal aid contract. In forced of the order No. 6905 of 11 March 2019 by which the Court of Cassation dismissed the appeal brought by a lawyer against judgment No. 1366/2013 of the Court of Appeal of Bari, which sentenced to pay professional fees to the lawyer only the defendant against whom the conferment of a contract of patronage had been proven.
The case concerned a lawyer’s claim for professional compensation for the work he had done, together with other co-defendants in relation to several clients. However, only one of the defendants had given a professional mandate to the lawyer, whereas the remaining defendants had limited themselves to signing the joint prosecutor’s office for disputes, which provided the other co-defensors alongside the applicant’s name. They then signed a professional mandate to the other co-defensors.
In recalling its previous case law (Court of Cassation no. 14276/17; 184450/2014; 13963/2006; 10454/2002), with the Order in question, the Court of Cassation reiterated that, for the purposes of concluding the legal aid contract, it is not essential to issue a power of attorney ad litem, since the latter is a unilateral act, autonomous and different in genesis and effects from the contract with which the legal aid relationship is established, and which is required only for the performance of the procedural activity.
The lawyer who requests compensation as a result of the professional activity carried out together with other lawyers, against several clients jointly, will then have to prove in court the existence of a contract of patronage with the party against whom he acts, or, in line with the prevailing jurisprudential orientation (Court of Cassation 1792/2017; Court of Cassation 11283/2018), provide any investigative means, including the production of e-mail or fax correspondence, which is able to unequivocally express the will of the defendant client to use his activity and his work.