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An Advocate General is a senior law officer of the law in another jurisdiction, usually charged with advising the courts or Government on legal matters.
In India, an Advocate General is a legal adviser to a state government. The post is created by the Constitution of India and corresponds to that of Attorney General of India at the federal or central or union government level.
In Pakistan an Advocate General of the Province of the Punjab is a constitutional post and is an authority duly appointed under Article 140 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Advocate General Punjab
Lahore High Court, Lahore, Pakistan-54000 The Advocate General of the Province of the Punjab is a constitutional post and is an authority duly appointed under Article 140 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A person who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the High Court is appointed as the Advocate General for the province. He is the principal law officer of the Province.
It is the duty of the Advocate General to advise the provincial government upon such legal matters and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the provincial government and to discharge the functions conferred upon him by or under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan or any other law for the time being in force. The Advocate General have the right to speak in, and otherwise take part in the proceedings of, any Committee of the Legislature of which he may be named as Member. But he shall not be entitled to vote. The Advocate General and his office defends and protects the interest of the provincial government and gives invaluable legal guidance to the provincial government in formulation of its policy and execution of its decision.Advocate-General of the Punjab is also Ex Officio Chairman of Punjab Bar Council.
The office of the Advocate General is directly connected with the High Court of the province. Pre-independence (1947) the High Court of judicature for the premises of Punjab and Delhi was established at Lahore and was called the High Court of Judicature at Lahore. After independence of Pakistan, the High Court at Lahore ceased to have jurisdiction over Delhi and the then East Punjab. On 14 August 1947 the High Court (Lahore) Order, 1947, preserved the continuance of the High Court at Lahore with all rights, powers and privileges as hitherto enjoyed and possessed by it before the appointed day. The Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan became the substitute of the Crown in matters of appointment etc. of Judges of the Lahore High Court.
Historically, the United Kingdom Government was advised on matters of Scots Law by the Lord Advocate but following the Scotland Act 1998 and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament the Lord Advocate became a member of the Scottish Executive.
It was necessary to create a post to advise the British Government in Westminster. Thus, the new post of Advocate General for Scotland was created. The Advocate General's role differs from that formerly held by the Lord Advocate in that they are only charged with advising the UK Government on matters pertaining to Scots law, the Lord Advocate having retained his responsibility as the chief public prosecutor in Scotland and head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on his transfer to the Scottish Executive.
The position of Advocate General for Northern Ireland was created following the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 April 2010. The Attorney General for Northern Ireland reports to the Northern Ireland Executive, and, accordingly, the Advocate General advises the UK Government on matters of Northern Ireland law. The post is held by the Attorney General for England and Wales by virtue of office.
Other European jurisdictions
The position of Advocate General is well established in the French, Dutch, and some other continental European legal systems, where higher courts are assisted by these legal officers. They are not advocates representing clients in courts. They are not judges either, although they are full members of the courts. They mainly offer legal advice to judges on the cases being tried. They may also have a prosecution role, depending on countries and on the nature of cases (criminal or civil).
The position of Advocate General (avocat général) already existed in the French legal system before the French Revolution, when they were found in the then higher courts (parlements, cours des aides, etc.) and proposed legal solutions to the judges in cases involving the State, the Church, the general public, communities, or minors. Since the French Revolution, they are found in the Supreme Court, the Court of Audit, the Courts of Appeal, and the Assize Courts. They have more of a prosecution role than before the French Revolution, especially in the Assize Courts, in which people accused of felonies are tried.
Advocates General are also part of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), where there are eight of them. The post is created by Article 252 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. They are full members of the court but they are not judges. They are not prosecutors either, unlike in the modern French legal system. They do not take part in the court's deliberations, yet they assist with each case and deliver their opinions on questions. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Advocate General’s opinion, although often in fact followed, is not binding on the Court.
- Advocate-General of Western Australia
- Advocate General Jacobs
- Judge Advocate General (disambiguation)