Recognition and Representation of Ecclesiastical Entities
Legal recognition in Italy
In accordance with the provisions of D.P.R. 361/2000, the legal recognition of the juridical personality of an Ecclesiastical Entity is obtained through its inclusion in the Register of Juridical Persons kept by the Prefecture. In this manner, the Ecclesiastical Entity acquires complete and independent control of its assets and it can consequently act as an autonomous subject within the Italian juridical sphere expressing its own rights and particular interests. The entity can therefore interact with any other juridical subject, which otherwise, would refuse such interaction.
The Legal Representative
Every juridical person must have a legal representative, viz, an individual with the powers to act in the name and for the account of the entity. The Legal Representative, appointed by the competent canonical superiors, must be inscribed in the Register of Juridical Persons no later than fifteen days from his/her appointment.
It is not necessary that the Legal Representative be the canonical superior (e.g., the Legal Representative of a Province of a Religious Congregation need not be the Provincial); nor is it necessary that the Legal Representative of a General House or Curia be an Italian national. It will be necessary to include in the Register all material changes concerning the Entity (e.g., change of registered offices, of the Legal Representative, etc.) as well as the Entity’s dissolution or extinction.
Delegation of powers
The Legal Representative can delegate all or a part of his/her powers to another person. This means that it is possible to confer - for a limited or an unlimited period of time - to one or more attorneys-in-fact the power to carry out actions of a general nature (e.g., to replace the Legal Representative in all or in a large part of his or her operational functions) or of a special nature (limited to specific activities or categories of activities, e.g., signing a sales contract for a specific property).
The Power of Attorney can take the form either of a public notarial deed or a private deed, depending on the form requested for the actions to be carried-out. Under Italian law, a Power of Attorney must have the same form as the juridical action, which the Attorney-in fact is meant to accomplish (e.g., because the sale of real property must be done by public notarial deed, a Power-of-Attorney granting powers for such a sale must be in the same form).
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