Q: Can someone speak/represent someone with the defendant present, for a small claims civil matter?
Bought a "as is" car and signed everywhere that vehicle is "as is", yet taking us to court because the $1,050 vehicle has issues.
A: This is a great question. Generally judges are disinclined to allow a non-attorney to participate in proceedings. However, there is the authority to allow an agent under a power of attorney to participate on behalf of his or her Principal.
Attorney General Opinion 03-026 reads concludes as as follows:
It is, therefore, the official Opinion of the Attorney General that:
An individual holding a Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney may be authorized by his or her principal under 15 Ohio St. 2001, § 1005[15-1005] [sic] or 58 O.S. 2001, § 1072.1, respectively, to appear as a substitute for the principal in small claims court and personally prosecute or defend the principal's case, and if he or she chooses, without the assistance of legal counsel. However, a person may not use a Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney to substitute for a lawyer licensed by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, when the services of an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association are required. 5 Ohio St. 2001, ch. 1, app. 1, art. II, § 7.
Use with caution as a Judge may not recognize the attorney general's opinion. Have the party present.
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