Attorney at law
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with British Isles and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2013)|
Attorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the official name for a lawyer in certain jurisdictions, including Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Brazil and the United States.
England and Wales
The term was also used in England and Wales for lawyers who practised in the common law courts. In 1873, however, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act abolished the term "attorney", and attorneys were redesignated solicitors, which had always been the title for those lawyers who practised in the courts of equity. Attorneys did not generally actually appear as advocates in the higher courts, a role reserved (as it still usually is) for barristers.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, various pre-partition statutes dealing with the whole of Ireland and governing court structures, procedures, and court officers remain in force, such as the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Ireland) 1877.
References in any statutory provision in force in Northern Ireland to attorneys must be construed as references to solicitors of the Court of Judicature.
In the Republic of Ireland, references in any enactment to an attorney (or proctor) are to be construed as a reference to a solicitor.