Attorney General for Northern Ireland

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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.

The original post was formed in 1921 with the establishment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland and was always held by an Ulster Unionist Party MP.[1] A Deputy Attorney General briefly held office in 1946, when the post was held by Edmond Warnock MP (21 June - 11 September).[2]

The Attorney General for England and Wales performed the role of Attorney General for Northern Ireland after the prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972.[3] These office-holders were always United Kingdom Government Ministers.

Justice powers were again devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 April 2010, at which point the Attorney General for England and Wales ceased to hold office as Attorney General of Northern Ireland. She instead became Advocate General for Northern Ireland[4] and a vacancy occurred. The current office-holder, John Larkin QC, is politically independent and took office on 24 May 2010,[5] when he was appointed by First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The role and powers of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland are provided in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002. He or she is appointed for a term of not more than five years jointly by the First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. The Attorney General is permitted to participate in the proceedings of the Assembly, but not to vote.

The Attorney General for Northern Ireland is also the chief public prosecutor for Northern Ireland[citation needed] and is responsible for the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

Office-holders[edit]

Devolved

Direct rule

Devolved

  • position vacant (12 April 2010 - 24 May 2010)
  • John Larkin QC (24 May 2010 – present)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]