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Encyclopedia > Attorney general

In most common law jurisdictions, the Attorney General or Attorney-General is the main legal adviser to the government, and in some jurisdictions may in addition have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Usage

The term has traditionally been used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way, even if only for a particular case, is an attorney general, and when that is a private individual, he may be distinguished from the permanent official as being a private or pro tempore attorney general. Although most nations now mainly use full-time professional prosecutors in criminal cases, this is a fairly recent development, emerging in the latter half of the 19th century. Until the advent of public prosecutors, in the United States commonly called district attorneys at the county or district level, criminal prosecutions were conducted by private persons, usually lawyers, who would be appointed attorney general by receiving a bill of indictment from a grand jury. Today private criminal prosecutions are discouraged by judges, but the practice survives in the use of "special prosecutors" or "independent counsel" created by special legislation. A grand jury is a type of jury, in the common law legal system, which determines if there is enough evidence for a trial. ...


This usage can also be seen in the title "secretary general", for a secretary, or executive official, with general authority, normally the chief executive of a hierarchy of executive officials, or "surgeon general", for the chief surgeon of a team of surgeons.


Some people think the word "general" used in that way entitles the official to the honorific "general", but this is strictly only appropriate for military generals.[1] The word "general" in "attorney general" is an adjective (unlike the military term). The plural of "attorney general" is either "attorneys general" (the older form) or "attorney generals" (common today).[2]


Australia

In Australia the Attorney-General is the chief law officer of the Crown and a member of the Cabinet. The Attorney-General is the minister responsible for legal affairs, national and public security and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. The current Attorney-General, as of 2007, is Philip Ruddock. The Attorney-General of Australia is the chief law officer of the Crown and a member of the Federal Cabinet. ... Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, in 1952 and 2002 The title Queen of Australia has existed since 1973, when the Parliament of Australia passed the Royal Style and Titles Act (1973). ... The Cabinet of Australia (whose members also serve in the Executive Council of Australia) is the council of senior ministers, responsible to parliament. ... The official crest of ASIO The ASIO logo The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is the domestic security agency of Australia which is responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage (especially sabotage of critical infrastructure), politically motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system... Philip Maxwell Ruddock (born March 12, 1943), Australian politician, is the Attorney-General of Australia in the Coalition Government of Australian Prime Minister John Howard. ...


The Minister for Justice and Customs is the minister assisting the Attorney-General. The current Minister is Senator David Johnston. The Minister is responsible for the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Customs Service. David Albert Lloyd Johnston, (born 14 April 1956) Australian politician, has been a Liberal member of the Australian Senate since July 2002, representing the state of Western Australia. ... The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the national police agency of the Commonwealth of Australia. ... The Australian Customs Service (ACS) is responsible for overseeing international movement of trade goods and people into Australia, for the collection of customs and excises, for undertaking border management activities, and for detecting drugs coming into the country. ...


The Australian states each have an Attorney-General, who is a state minister with similar responsibilities to the federal minister with respect to state law.


Functions of the state and federal Attorneys-General include the administration of the selection of persons for nomination to judicial posts, and authorising prosecutions. In normal circumstances the prosecutorial powers of the Attorney-General are exercised by the Director of Public Prosecutions and staff, however the Attorney-General maintains formal control, including the power to initiate and terminate public prosecutions and take over private prosecutions. Statutory criminal law provides that prosecutions for certain offences require the individual consent of the Attorney-General. This is generally for offences whose illegality is of a somewhat controversial nature, or where there is perceived to be a significant risk that prosecutions of a political nature may be embarked upon. The Attorney-General also generally has the power to issue certificates legally conclusive of certain facts (e.g. that the revelation of certain matters in court proceedings might constitute a risk to national security); the facts stated in such certificates must be accepted by the courts and cannot legally be disputed by any parties. The Attorney-General also has the power to issue a nolle prosequi with respect to a case, which authoritatively determines that the state (in whose name prosecutions are brought) does not wish to prosecute the case, so preventing any person from doing so. The Director of Public Prosecutions is the officer charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Brazil

Main article: Attorney General in Brazil This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Canada

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General are combined into one cabinet position in Canada. The Attorney General is the chief law officer of The Crown. The Minister of Justice is concerned with questions of policy and their relationship to the justice system. The Minister of Justice (French: Ministre de la Justice) of Canada is the minister in the Cabinet of Canada who is responsible for the Department of Justice and is also Attorney General of Canada. ... The Attorney General of Canada (French: Procureur général du Canada) is the top prosecuting officer in Canada. ... Throughout the Commonwealth Realms The Crown is an abstract concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government. ...


The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (previously titled Solicitor General) is a separate cabinet position and administers the police, prisons, and security agencies of the federal government. In the Cabinet of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (French: Ministre de la Sécurité publique et de la Protection civile) is responsible for overseeing the federal governments domestic security department, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. ...


See also Attorney General of Ontario. The Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province. ...


Egypt

The Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority is an Egyptian judicial institution that resembles, in respect of competencies, the United States Solicitor General. The United States Solicitor General is the individual appointed to argue for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. ...


The Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority had been established in 1874 prior to the establishment of the Egyptian national courts in 1883. The Authority represents the interests of the state in a variety of areas before national and international courts and arbitral tribunals. Under the applicable law, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority is granted the power to proceed to plead on behalf of the state even if the state itself does not like to do so and vice versa.


Organizationally, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority is divided into several departments, each of which is competent to represent the state before a specified kind of courts with respect to jurisdiction. All the departments are headed by their respective vice presidents, however, the president of the Authority shall preside the Department of Foreign Disputes.


The members of the Department of Foreign Disputes are in charge of representing the Arab Republic of Egypt before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), International Chamber of Commerce in Paris (ICC) and any other international arbitral or judicial panel for the settlement of International Disputes where Egypt is a party thereto. The current State Solicitor Asser Harb is primarily known for his eminent international legal practice within the Department of Foreign Disputes. The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ; French: ) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. ... The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an institution of the World Bank group, was founded in 1966 under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States. ...


In General, the main mission of the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority is to defend the public funds and interests of the Egyptian people.


Hong Kong

The Attorney General of Hong Kong, renamed Secretary for Justice after transfer of sovereignty in 1997, is the legal adviser of the Hong Kong Government and heads the Department of Justice, assisted by 6 law officers, namely the Solicitor General who heads the Legal Policy Division, and the Law officers who head the Prosecutions Division, Civil Law Division, International Law Division, Law Drafting Division and the Administration and Development Division. Crimes and offences are prosecuted at the suit of the Secretary of Justice. Secretary for Justice (律政司司長) is a member of the Hong Kong Government responsible for prosecutions and legal matters. ... The transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom (UK) to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), often referred to as The Handover, occurred on June 30, 1997. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... On July 1, 1997, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, ending more than 150 years of British colonial control. ... This department replaced the former Legal Department (律政司) of the colonial government of Hong Kong. ...


The Secretary of Justice, appointed by the Central People's Government in Beijing on the advice of the Chief Executive, is an ex-officio member of the Executive Council. The position is normally held by a legal professional, and, before July 2002, a civil service position. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with State Council of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Beijing (Chinese: 北京; pinyin: BÄ›ijÄ«ng; IPA: ;  ), a metropolis in northern China, is the capital of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). ... Other Hong Kong topics Culture - Economy Education - Geography - History Hong Kong Portal The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Traditional Chinese: , Simplified Chinese: , pinyin: XiānggÇŽng Tèbié XíngzhèngqÅ« Xíngzhèng ZhÇŽngguān; Cantonese Jyutping: hoeng1 gong2 dak6 bit6 hang4 zing3 keoi1... The Executive Council (ExCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China is an organ in the Executive branch of the political structure of Hong Kong. ... A jurist is a professional who studies, develops, applies or otherwise deals with the law. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ...


India

The Attorney General of India is the Indian governments chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. ...

Isle of Man

In the Isle of Man, Her Majesty's Attorney General is a Crown appointment and Mr Attorney sits in the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man, 'ex officio'. Her Majestys Attorney General in the Isle of Man is currently William John Howarth Corlett Esq QC MLC. This article about the Isle of Man is a stub. ... The Legislative Council of the Isle of Man is the upper chamber of Tynwald, the legislature of the Isle of Man. ... This page includes English translations of several Latin phrases and abbreviations such as . ...


Malaysia

In Malaysia the Attorney General or Peguam Negara (as he is referred to in Bahasa Malaysia) is the principal legal adviser to the Government. He has the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial. Introduction The Attorney General (or better known as Peguam Negara is the principal legal adviser to the Government of Malaysia. ... The Malay language, also known locally as bahasa Melayu, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Malay people who reside in the Malay Peninsula, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, central eastern Sumatra, the Riau islands, and parts of the coast of Borneo. ...


Mexico

In Mexico the ProcuradurĂ­a General de la RepĂșblica is an institution belonging to the Federal executive branch that is responsible of the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes. In Mexico the Attorney Generals Office (Spanish: Procuraduría General de la República) is an institution belonging to the Federal executive branch that is responsible of the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes. ...


New Zealand

Main article: Attorney-General (New Zealand)

In New Zealand, the Attorney-General is the chief law officer and primary legal advisor of the New Zealand government. Historically, the post could be held either by a politician or by a senior jurist, but today, it is invariably held by a member of Parliament. The Attorney-General attends Cabinet, but the post is not the same as the Minister of Justice. The Attorney-General has departmental responsibility for the Crown Law Office, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Serious Fraud Office. By tradition, persons appointed to the position of Attorney-General have almost invariably been lawyers. Only two former Attorneys-General have not been lawyers, most recently Dr Michael Cullen who held the post in 2005, and again from 2006. Cullen's appointment was controversial at the time because of his non-legal background. The Attorney-General is an political office in New Zealand. ... The Attorney-General is an political office in New Zealand. ... The New Zealand Parliament is the legislative body of the New Zealand government. ... The New Zealand Cabinet functions as the policy and decision-making body of New Zealand governments executive branch. ... Michael Cullen The Hon. ...


United Kingdom

The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisors to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. ...

England and Wales

Main article: Law Officers of the Crown#England

The Attorney General for England and Wales is similarly the chief law officer of the Crown in England and Wales, and advises and represents the Crown and government departments in court. In practice, the Treasury Solicitor normally provides the lawyers or briefs Treasury Counsel to appear in court, although the Attorney General may appear in person if he wishes. He provides legal advice to the Government; for example, on the legality of the second Gulf War. He also acts as the representative of the public interest; for example, in relation to charities. Privately, he also determines issues between government departments. The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisors to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. ... Her Majestys Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known as the Attorney General, is the chief legal adviser of the Crown in England and Wales. ... The Treasury Solicitors Department (TSD) is the largest in-house legal organisation of the United Kingdom Government. ... For other uses, see Iraq war (disambiguation). ...


The Attorney General has supervisory powers over the prosecution of criminal offences, but is not personally involved with prosecutions; however, some prosecutions (e.g. Riot) cannot be commenced without his consent, and he has the power to halt prosecutions generally. Criminal prosecutions are the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service, headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Attorney General may appeal cases to the higher courts where, although the particular case is settled, there may be a point of law of public importance at issue. It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... The Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS, is a non-ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. ... The Director of Public Prosecutions is the officer charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world. ...


The Attorney General's deputy is the Solicitor General for England and Wales. Her Majestys Solicitor General for England and Wales, often known as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law. ...


Under the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Counsel General is the chief legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly Government. The Government of Wales Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... The Counsel General for Wales is the Welsh equivalent to the Attorney General, he advises the Welsh Assembly Government on Welsh legislative matters and advises on legislative competency. ... The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, LlCC) is the executive body of the National Assembly for Wales, consisting of the First Minister and his Cabinet. ...


Northern Ireland

Main article: Law Officers of the Crown#Northern Ireland

During the period of direct rule in Northern Ireland from 1973 to 1998, the Attorney General for England and Wales was also Attorney General for Northern Ireland. Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland executive is now advised by an Advocate General for Northern Ireland. The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisors to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. ... Direct Rule is the term given to the running of the day-to-day administration of Northern Ireland directly from Westminster. ... Anthem: UK: God Save the Queen Regional: (de facto) Londonderry Air Capital Belfast Largest city Belfast Official languages English (de facto), Irish, Ulster Scots 3, BSL, NISL, ISL Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Ian Paisley  - Deputy First Minister... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ... Her Majestys Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known as the Attorney General, is the chief legal adviser of the Crown in England and Wales. ... The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement and, more rarely, as the Stormont Agreement) was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998 by the British and Irish Governments and endorsed by most Northern Ireland political parties. ...


Scotland

Main article: Law Officers of the Crown#Scotland

Under the recent constitutional reforms, the Lord Advocate has become an officer of the Scottish Executive, while the United Kingdom Government is advised on Scots law by the Advocate General for Scotland. The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisors to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. ... Her Majestys Advocate, known as the Lord Advocate (Morair Tagraidh in Scottish Gaelic) is the chief legal adviser to the Scottish Executive and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament. ... The Executives logo, shown with English and Scottish Gaelic caption The term Scottish Executive is used in two different, but closely-related senses: to denote the executive arm of Scotlands national legislature (i. ... Scots law (or Scottish law) is the law of Scotland. ... Her Majestys Advocate General for Scotland (Àrd-neach-tagraidh na Bànrighe airson Alba in Gaelic) is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, whose duty is to advise the Crown and UK Government on Scots law. ...


The Lord Advocate is assisted by the Solicitor General for Scotland. Her Majestys Solicitor General for Scotland (Àrd-neach-lagha a Chrùin an Alba) is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Lord Advocate, whose duty is to advise the Crown and the Scottish Executive on Scots Law. ...


Other Attorneys General in the UK

Main article: Law Officers of the Crown#Other persons

The Attorney General of the Duchy of Cornwall is the chief legal adviser to the Prince of Wales, and there is a separate Attorney General for the Duchy of Lancaster, an appointment that is held by the Crown. The Law Officers of the Crown are the chief legal advisors to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Prince of Wales Feathers. This Heraldic badge of the Heir Apparent is derived from the ostrich feathers borne by Edward, the Black Prince. ... A not-so-nice duchy. ...


United States

In the Federal Government of the United States, the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet and as head of the Department of Justice is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government. The attorney general may need to be distinguished from the Solicitor General, a high Justice Department official with the responsibility of representing the government in the Supreme Court. In cases of exceptional importance, however, the Attorney General may choose to represent the government himself/herself in the Supreme Court. Seal of the United States Department of Justice The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice (see 28 U.S.C. Â§ 503) concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... The State Attorney General in the United States is an executive office in all 50 US States that serves as the chief legal advisor to the state government and the chief law enforcement officer in the various states. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The government of the United States of America, established by the U.S. Constitution, is... Seal of the United States Department of Justice The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice (see 28 U.S.C. Â§ 503) concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... Cabinet meeting on May 16, 2001. ... DOJ headquarters in Washington, D.C. Justice Department redirects here. ... The United States Solicitor General is the individual appointed to argue for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States...


The individual U.S. states also have State Attorneys General with similar responsibilities. The majority of state Attorneys General are chosen by popular election, as opposed to the U.S. Attorney General who is a Presidential appointee. Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties/Parishes/Boroughs, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... The State Attorney General in the United States is an executive office in all 50 US States that serves as the chief legal advisor to the state government and the chief law enforcement officer in the various states. ...

See also: District Attorney

A district attorney is, in some U.S. jurisdictions, the title of the local public official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminals. ...

External links


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