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What Do "Attorneys/Solicitors General" Do?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:16 pm

Attorney General or Solicitor General is a title that I hear crop up from time to time in relation to a Canadian or American state or province, or to the country itself. Evidently, each level of government has one of these.

What does this person do? Are they the head of all public prosecutors, or a head of the government legal department? What exactly is their role?
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RE: What Do "Attorneys/Solicitors General" Do?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:51 am

An Attorney General is the legal adviser to the government, and his functions can vary. In some countries he is responsible for public prosecutions (ie cases taken by the government), but in Ireland that is the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions. In essence, he is the government's solicitor.
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RE: What Do "Attorneys/Solicitors General" Do?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:58 am

In the United States, the Attorney General is the head of the Department of Justice and a member of the President's Cabinet. As head of the DOJ, he is in charge of a variety of agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The Attorney General also supervises the U.S. Attorneys located in cities throughout the country, who represent the United States in criminal and civil matters in courts other than the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, as a senior Cabinet member, the Attorney General generally is one of the President's closest advisors.
The Solicitor General works under the Attorney General and is in charge of representing the United States in matters before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Each state has an attorney general (actual titles may vary), who in most instances is in charge of representing the state in civil matters. Representation of states in criminal matters is not centralized, but is handled by the prosecutorial officer in each county, generally known as the district attorney, state's attorney or people's attorney.
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RE: What Do "Attorneys/Solicitors General" Do?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:02 am

In Australia the Attorney General is responsible for federal law - specifically the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. He's the Federal Government's lawyer, although the Justice Minister is responsible for the Federal and High Courts as well as the Federal Police.

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