Attorney at law

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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. In Canada, it is only used in Quebec.

Previous usage in Ireland and Britain[edit]

The term was historically used in the jurisdictions of England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The title has been replaced by solicitor, but still appears in old statutes, in these jurisdictions.

England and Wales[edit]

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,[1] 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.

In England and Wales,[2] references in any enactment to attorneys must be construed as references to solicitors of the Senior Courts.[3]

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland[edit]

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.[4]

In the Republic of Ireland, references in any enactment to an attorney (or proctor) are to be construed as a reference to a solicitor.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law 3rd edition, London: Thomson Reuters (Legal) Limited 2010, p. 190
  2. ^ The Solicitors Act 1974, section 90(4)
  3. ^ The Solicitors Act 1974, section 89(6) as read with section 87(1)
  4. ^ Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978, section 105(2)
  5. ^ The Solicitors Act 1954, section 84