Attorney General
Overview
 
In most common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement
Law enforcement
Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society...

 or responsibility for public prosecutions.

The term is 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.
Encyclopedia
In most common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement
Law enforcement
Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society...

 or responsibility for public prosecutions.

The term is 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 is referred to as such, even if only for a particular case.

Australia

In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 the Attorney-General
Attorney-General of Australia
The Attorney-General of Australia is the first law officer of the Crown, chief law officer of the Commonwealth of Australia and a minister of the Crown. The Attorney-General is usually a member of the Federal Cabinet, but there is no constitutional requirement that this be the case since the...

 is the chief law officer of the Crown and a member of the Cabinet
Cabinet of Australia
The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister the Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, and serves at the former's pleasure. The strictly private...

. The Attorney-General is the minister responsible for legal affairs, national and public security and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation is Australia's national security service, which is responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically-motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system, and...

. Robert McClelland
Robert McClelland (Australian politician)
Robert Bruce McClelland is the Attorney-General of Australia. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of theAustralian House of Representatives since March 1996, representing the Division of Barton, New South Wales...

 is the current Attorney-General.

The Minister for Justice and Customs was formerly the minister assisting the Attorney-General. , the Minister for Home Affairs has been responsible for the Australian Federal Police
Australian Federal Police
The Australian Federal Police is the federal police agency of the Commonwealth of Australia. Although the AFP was created by the amalgamation in 1979 of three Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, it traces its history from Commonwealth law enforcement agencies dating back to the federation of...

 and the Australian Customs Service
Australian Customs Service
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is the Australian Federal Government agency responsible for managing the security and integrity of the Australian border, facilitating the movement of legitimate international travellers and goods, and collecting border-related duties and...

, as well as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The current Minister for Home Affairs is Brendan O'Connor.

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
Director of Public Prosecutions
The Director of Public Prosecutions is the officer charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world...

 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
Nolle prosequi
Nolle prosequi is legal term of art and a Latin legal phrase meaning "to be unwilling to pursue", a phrase amounting to "please do not prosecute". It is a phrase used in many common law criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges...

 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.

Brazil

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the Attorney-General of the Union (Advogado-Geral da União in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

), is in charge of the legal defense of the State and of advising the President of the Republic on legal matters. The current Attorney-General of the Union, and head of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Union, is Luís Inácio Adams
Luís Inácio Adams
Luís Inácio Lucena Adams is a Brazilian lawyer, and was appointed to be Brazilian Attorney-General of the Union on October 23, 2009....

.

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, there is also another position, the General Prosecutor (Procurador-Geral da República in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

), which is the head of the Prosecution Office (Ministério Público in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

). It is a position appointed by the President of the Republic
President of Brazil
The president of Brazil is both the head of state and head of government of the Federative Republic of Brazil. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces...

 and the nomination must be approved by the Federal Senate
Senate of Brazil
The Federal Senate of Brazil is the upper house of the National Congress of Brazil. Created by the first Constitution of the Brazilian Empire in 1824, it was inspired by the United Kingdom's House of Lords, but with the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889 it became closer to the United States...

. The current General Prosecutor of Brazil is Roberto Gurgel
Roberto Gurgel
Roberto Gurgel is the General Prosecutor of Brazil.-External links:*...

.

Canada

The Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice (Canada)
The Minister of Justice is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for the Department of Justice and is also Attorney General of Canada .This cabinet position is usually reserved for someone with formal legal training...

 and Attorney General are combined into one cabinet position in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. The Attorney General is the chief law officer of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

. The Minister of Justice is concerned with questions of policy
Policy
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedure or protocol...

 and their relationship to the justice system.

The Minister of Public Safety (previously titled Solicitor General) is a separate cabinet position and administers the police, prisons, and security agencies of the federal government.

See also Attorney General of Ontario
Attorney General of Ontario
The Attorney General of Ontario is a senior member of the Executive Council of Ontario and governs the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario - the department responsible for the oversight of the justice system within the province. The Attorney General is an elected Member of Provincial...

, Attorney General of British Columbia
Attorney General of British Columbia
The Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia is a provincial government department responsible for the oversight of the justice system within the province of British Columbia, Canada...

.

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 the Procuraduría General de la República is an institution belonging to the executive branch that is responsible for representing the Dominican State in courts of law, defending public interest, assuring respect for the due process of law and overseeing penitentiaries in the Republic.

Fiji

In Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, the role of the Attorney General is defined as "providing essential legal expertise and support to the Government". More specific functions include "legislative drafting", "legal aid", "the prerogative of mercy" (advising the President), "liquor licensing" and "film censorship".

The current Attorney General is Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Fiji's Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Industry, Investment, Tourism and Communications...

. In January 2008, he sparked controversy by accepting other government positions in addition to his role as Attorney General; Sayed-Khaiyum is currently responsible also for "Public Enterprise, Electoral Reform and Anti-Corruption". An article in the Fiji Times
Fiji Times
The Fiji Times is a daily English-language newspaper published in Suva, Fiji. Established in Levuka on 4 September 1869, it is Fiji's oldest newspaper still operating....

pointed out that "never before in the history of this nation has the Attorney-General held a portfolio dealing with matters other than the law and the judiciary", and criticised the decision.

Hong Kong

The Attorney General of Hong Kong, renamed Secretary for Justice after transfer of sovereignty
Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, referred to as ‘the Return’ or ‘the Reunification’ by the Chinese and ‘the Handover’ by others, took place on 1 July 1997...

 in 1997, is the legal adviser of the Hong Kong Government and heads the Department of Justice
Department of Justice (Hong Kong)
The Department of Justice is the department responsible for the laws of Hong Kong headed by the Secretary for Justice. Before 1997, the names of the department and the position was the Legal Department and Attorney General respectively....

, assisted by 5 law officers, namely:
  • the Solicitor General who heads the Legal Policy Division,
  • the Director of Public Prosecutions who head the Prosecutions Division
    Prosecutions Division (Hong Kong)
    The Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice, is the public prosecution office in Hong Kong. The Prosecutions Division is the largest in the Department, with about 125 lawyers, known as 'Public Prosecutors', and about 115 lay prosecutors, known as 'Court Prosecutors'...

    ,
  • the Law Officer (Civil Law) who heads the Civil Law Division,
  • the Law Officer (International Law) who heads the International Law Division, and
  • the Law Draftsman who heads the Law Drafting Division

(The Administration and Development Division is headed by an Administrative Officer.)

Crimes and offences are prosecuted at the suit of the Secretary of Justice.

The Secretary of Justice, appointed by the Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 on the advice of the Chief Executive
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

, is an ex-officio member of the Executive Council
Executive Council of Hong Kong
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong.. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong serves as its President.The Executive Council normally meets once a week...

. The position is normally held by a legal professional
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

, and, before July 2002, a civil service position.

Indonesia

The Attorney General of Indonesia is responsible to advise the Government about law problems. The Attorney General is also a Solicitor General. So, the Attorney General can represent the Government in the Supreme Court. The current Attorney General of Indonesia is Basrief Arief.

Ireland

"The Mission of the Office of the Attorney General is to provide the highest standard of professional legal services to Government, Departments and Offices."

The Attorney General of Ireland
Attorney General of Ireland
The Attorney General is a constitutional officer who is the official adviser to the Government of Ireland in matters of law. He is in effect the chief law officer in Ireland. The Attorney General is not a member of the Government but does participate in cabinet meetings when invited and attends...

 is the legal adviser to the Government and is therefore the chief law officer of the State. The Office of the Attorney General, is made up of a number of different offices:
  • The Attorney General's Office (located at Merrion Street, Dublin 2) containing the Advisory Counsel to the Attorney General
  • The Office of Parliamentary Counsel to the Government (also located at Merrion Street, Dublin 2) containing the Parliamentary Counsel who draft legislation and have responsibilities in the area of Statute Law revision
  • The Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO) (located at Little Ship Street, Dublin 8) containing the solicitors representing the Attorney and the State

Since the enactment of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1974 the responsibility for the prosecution of indictable criminal offences is mostly in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions who is by law independent of the Attorney General and the State.

Isle of Man

In the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

, Her Majesty's Attorney General
Attorney General (Isle of Man)
The Attorney General of the Isle of Man has an ex officio seat in the Legislative Council and is the Government's top legal adviser.The Attorney General is a Crown officer, rather than a member of the Isle of Man Government...

 is a Crown appointment and Mr Attorney sits in the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man
Legislative Council of the Isle of Man
The Legislative Council is the upper chamber of Tynwald, the legislature of the Isle of Man.It consists of eleven Members —*eight elected members, known as Members of the Legislative Council or MLCs*three ex officio members:...

, 'ex officio'.

Israel

The Attorney General of Israel is the head of the public prosecution from the state, the person who advises the government in legal matters, the person who represents the state's authorities in the courts, and advises in preparation of law memoranda of the government in general and the Justice Minister in particular (likewise he examines and advises for private proposals for a law of Knesset members).

Jamaica

This is a position which existed in Jamaica for a long time.

Ransford Braham is the new Attorney General of Jamaica
Attorney General of Jamaica
Attorney General of Jamaica is the chief law officer in Jamaica.Section 79 of the Constitution of Jamaica states that "there shall be an Attorney General who shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government of Jamaica" and pursuant to the Crown Proceedings Act all civil proceedings by or...

 as of July 6, 2011 when Senator Dorothy Lightbourne
Dorothy Lightbourne
Dorothy Lightbourne was the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Jamaica from September 2007 to July 2011 when she was removed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding and replaced by Delroy Chuck as Minister of Justice and by Ransford Braham as Attorney General...

 was sacked by Prime Minister Bruce Golding
Bruce Golding
Orette Bruce Golding MP served as Prime Minister of Jamaica from 11 September 2007 to 23 October 2011. He is a member of the Jamaica Labour Party.-Biography:...


Italy

The Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 name is Procuratore della Repubblica. He or she is the head of the Procura della Repubblica, an institution that represents the people's and the State's interests.

Kenya

In Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 the Attorney General is the Principal Legal Adviser to the Government and ex-officio Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 and Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

. His duties include the formulation of legal policy and ensuring proper administration of Kenya's legal system including professional legal education. Assisting the Attorney General in the performance of his duties as Principal Legal Adviser to the Government are:
  • Solicitor General
  • Senior Deputy Solicitor General
  • Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Registrar General
  • Administrator General
  • Chairman of Advocates Complaints Commission
  • Chief Parliamentary Counsel
  • Chief State Counsel

Kiribati

In Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

, the Attorney General is defined by section 42 of the Constitution as "the principal legal adviser to the Government". The Constitution specifies: "No person shall be qualified to hold or to act in the office of Attorney-General unless he is qualified to practise in Kiribati as an advocate in the High Court." The current Attorney General, as of 2007, is the Honourable Titabu Tabane.

Malaysia

In Malaysia the Attorney-General or Peguam Negara (as he is referred to in Bahasa Malaysia
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

) is the principal legal adviser to the Government. He is also the principal public prosecutor in the country, and is also known as the Public Prosecutor. 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.

Mexico

In Mexico the Procuraduría General de la República is an institution belonging to the federal executive branch that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are two types of attorney-generals, that are only historically related.

The first type of attorney-general ("advocaat-generaal" in Dutch) is the public prosecutor in criminal cases at appellate courts.

The second type of attorney-general is an independent advisor to the Supreme Court. These people give an opinion on cases (called "conclusies") in any field of law (not just criminal law), supported by a scientific staff. The Supreme Court may either follow or reject the opinion of the attorney-general (which is published together with the eventual decision). In a way, an attorney-general acts as yet another judge, but in the Dutch system that does not allow dissenting opinions to be published, it is the only way to reflect different perceptions on a case.

Dutch attorney-generals do not normally advise the government.

New Zealand

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, the Attorney-General
Attorney-General (New Zealand)
The Attorney-General is a political office in New Zealand. It is simultaneously a ministerial position and an administrative office, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters...

 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
New Zealand Cabinet
The Cabinet of New Zealand functions as the policy and decision-making body of the executive branch within the New Zealand government system...

, but the post is not the same as the Minister of Justice
Minister of Justice (New Zealand)
The Minister of Justice is a minister in the government of New Zealand. The minister has responsibility for the formulation of justice policy and for the administration of law courts....

. 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.

Pakistan

The Attorney-General of Pakistan is the legal
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 adviser to the government of the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and its public prosecutor. Currently Justice (r) Maulvi Anwar ul Haq is serving as the Attorney General of Pakistan.

Philippines

The Solicitor General of the Philippines is the principal law officer and legal defender of the Government. He shall have the authority and responsibility for the exercise of the Office’s mandate and for the discharge of its duties and functions, and shall have supervision and control over the Office and its constituent units.
The Office of the Solicitor General is the law firm of the Republic of the Philippines. It is tasked to represent the People of the Philippines, the Philippine Government, its Agencies and Instrumentalities, Officials and Agents (especially before appellate courts) in any litigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer. It is an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice
Department of Justice (Philippines)
The Department of Justice , abbreviated as DOJ, is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for upholding the rule of law in the Philippines...

 for budgetary purposes.

Samoa

In Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

, the Attorney General is the legal adviser to the government. The Attorney General is Aumua Ming Leung Wai.

Serbia

In Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 is called Public Attorney of the Republic of Serbia. It's the person who represents the state's authorities in the courts and administrative bodies, and advises the government in civil law
Civil law (area)
Civil law in continental law is a branch of law which is the general part of private law.The basis for civil law lies in a civil code. Before enacting of codes, civil law could not be distinguished from private law...

 matters.
Crimes and offences are prosecuted by Public Prosecutor.

Singapore

The Attorney-General of Singapore is the legal
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 adviser to the government of the Republic of Singapore and its public prosecutor.

Sri Lanka

The Attorney-General of Sri Lanka is the chief legal adviser of the Government of Sri Lanka and head of the Attorney-General department which is the public prosecutor.

Tonga

The office of Attorney General was established in Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

 in 1988, and was held jointly with the portfolio of Justice Minister until the two were separated in 2009. The Attorney General is defined as the "Chief Legal Advisor to Government".

England and Wales

The Attorney General for England and Wales
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 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 (who also has the title of Procurator General) normally provides the lawyers or briefs Treasury Counsel to appear in court, although the Attorney General may appear in person. The person appointed to this role provides legal advice to the Government, acts as the representative of the public interest and resolves issues between government departments.

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
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

) cannot be commenced without his/her consent, and he/she has the power to halt prosecutions generally. Criminal prosecutions are the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service
Crown Prosecution Service
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. Its role is similar to that of the longer-established Crown Office in Scotland, and the...

, headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions
Director of Public Prosecutions
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 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.

The Attorney General's deputy is the Solicitor General for England and Wales
Solicitor General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's 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...

.

Northern Ireland

Since the prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 in 1972, the Attorney General for England and Wales
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 was also Attorney General for Northern Ireland. The separate office of Attorney General for Northern Ireland
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
The Attorney General for Northern Ireland is the chief legal adviser to the Northern Ireland Executive for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly....

 is due to be re-created alongside the new office of Advocate General for Northern Ireland
Advocate General for Northern Ireland
The Advocate General for Northern Ireland is the chief legal adviser to the UK Government on Northern Ireland law and the post is held by the Attorney General for England and Wales by virtue of that office...

 upon the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive...

.

Scotland

Under the recent constitutional reforms, the Lord Advocate
Lord Advocate
Her Majesty's Advocate , known as the Lord Advocate , is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament...

 has become an officer of the Scottish Government, while the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Government is advised on Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

 by the Advocate General for Scotland
Advocate General for Scotland
Her Majesty's Advocate General for Scotland is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, whose duty it is to advise the Crown and UK Government on Scots law...

.

The Lord Advocate is assisted by the Solicitor General for Scotland
Solicitor General for Scotland
Her Majesty's Solicitor General for Scotland 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 Government on Scots Law...

.

Wales

Under the Government of Wales Act 2006
Government of Wales Act 2006
The Government of Wales Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reforms the National Assembly for Wales and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily...

, the Counsel General
Counsel General for Wales
The Counsel General for Wales advises the Welsh Government on Welsh legislative matters and advises on legislative competency. The position of the Counsel General for Wales is described in the Government of Wales Act 2006 and controlled in Standing Order 5 ....

 is the chief legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly Government
Welsh Assembly Government
The Welsh Government is the devolved government of Wales. It is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature which represents the interests of the people of Wales and makes laws for Wales...

.

Other Attorneys General in the UK

The Attorney General of the Duchy of Cornwall
Duchy of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning British monarch inherits the duchy and title of Duke of Cornwall at the time of his birth, or of his parent's succession to the throne. If the monarch has no son, the...

 is the chief legal adviser to the Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

, and there is a separate Attorney General for the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

, an appointment that is held by the Crown.

United States

In the federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

, the Attorney General
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

 is a member of the Cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

 and as head of the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government. The attorney general may need to be distinguished from the Solicitor General
United States Solicitor General
The United States Solicitor General is the person appointed to represent the federal government of the United States before the Supreme Court of the United States. The current Solicitor General, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 6, 2011 and sworn in on June...

, a high Justice Department official with the responsibility of representing the government before the Supreme Court. In cases of exceptional importance, however, the Attorney General may choose to represent the government himself or herself to the Supreme Court.

The individual U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s and territories, as well as the Federal capital of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 also have attorneys general
State Attorney General
The state attorney general in each of the 50 U.S. states and territories is the chief legal advisor to the state government and the state's chief law enforcement officer. In some states, the attorney general serves as the head of a state department of justice, with responsibilities similar to those...

 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.

Zimbabwe

The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor of the government of Zimbabwe. The office falls under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs
Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs (Zimbabwe)
The Ministry of Justice is a government ministry, responsible for courts in Zimbabwe. The incumbent minister is Patrick Chinamasa and the deputy minister is Jessie Majome.....

.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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