persons who, by virtue of the law and without special authority, appear in all institutions, including judicial ones, to protect the personal and property rights and the legal interests of persons who are legally incompetent, whose transactional capacity is restricted, or who are legally competent but because of their physical condition (old age, illness) are unable to exercise their rights and to fulfill their obligations. Under Soviet legislation, legal representatives, within the rights to which they are entitled by law, make all necessary transactions on behalf of the persons whom they represent and in their interest or give their consent for the making of those transactions which under the law the persons represented have no right to make independently. Legal representatives also help the persons they represent exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations, and they protect them from abuse by third parties.
In civil proceedings, legal representatives are parents, adoptive parents, or guardians of citizens appearing in the capacity of plaintiffs, defendants, or third parties. The competence of legal representatives is defined by the codes of civil procedure of the Union republics. In criminal proceedings, legal representatives are parents, adoptive parents, or guardians of the suspect, of the accused (prisoner), of the person with respect to whom the question of the application of compulsory medical measures has arisen, of the victim, of the civil plaintiff and defendant, and of the witness. If the guardianship is exercised by an institution or organization, the legal representatives are the representatives of these institutions or organizations. In criminal proceedings, legal representatives have an independent procedural status.