When you decide to have a Spanish Lawyer represent you in your case to reclaim your lost property deposit, you will have to give them Power of Attorney to do this. So what exactly is this?
As in the UK, the power of attorney gives someone legal right to represent someone else as though they were them. I had the unfortunate case to have to have power of attorney over my father when he was ill and dying (slowly) and I could spend his money (for him of course!) and sign documents on his behalf etc. Whenever anyone wanted something form my father they would have to come to me for it. I was his representative because he could not represent himself (in this case due to illness and loss of faculties).
Anyway, in the same way, because you cannot (effectively) represent yourself in the Spanish courts, you are assigning that right for someone to represent you, the Spanish Lawyer of your choice.
This is quite some power you are handing over and you are trusting them to represent you wisely. So make sure you are comfortable with who is representing you!
How can we be sure of this? … Well, maybe go on previous recommendation of others who have had a good experience with certain lawyers, if you can locate such people to make contact with them if you don’t know any already. But at the end of the day it has to be an act of faith to sign the POA document.
This document needs to be signed in the presence of a Notary. These can be in Spain or in the U.K. It is much easier to do this (and faster) if you can do this in Spain. The Notary Public (a person to witness that you are accepting the conditions of the agreement) will explain the contents to you before asking you to sign it in their presence. This is where I have heard some people get nervous as some Notaries are very responsible in the way they explain things (and rightly should be), but sometimes so much so that people are scared about signing!
Well I guess you have to listen to them and you can go back to the solicitor with any concerns they might have (such as the document being too wide ranging than necessary). However, in most cases the solicitor will want a document that is quite flexible for them to present the case in any form them want without need to ask for another one (if the first one was too narrow). This could include having many of their legal representatives listed to represent you in court when in fact there will only be one representing you in court (only they are not exactly sure which one it will be, even though they know who it will likely be).
Another thing is that the English translations can often be quite poor and it is the Spanish that is the legally binding language of the agreement.
However, whatever we think, we have to do this and give them ‘POA’ to get on with our cases. But feel free to ask as many questions as you want. If you don’t like what you are signing you can always go and find another solicitor. But in any case, you will have to give them significant control over you, and in fact your finances for which they will receive before sending on to you, less their fees (should you be fortunate enough to be successful in your claim of course!).