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 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]

History[edit]

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.

Office-holders[edit]

Devolved government 1921-1972[edit]

Colour key (for political parties):
  Ulster Unionist

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister (NI)
Richard Best MP 7 June 1921 5 November 1925 Ulster Unionist Sir James Craig
Anthony Babington MP 5 November 1925 3 December 1937 Ulster Unionist
Edward Sullivan Murphy MP 3 December 1937 14 April 1939 Ulster Unionist
Arthur Black MP 14 April 1939 10 November 1941 Ulster Unionist
J. M. Andrews
John MacDermott MP 10 November 1941 3 November 1944 Ulster Unionist
Sir Basil Brooke
William Lowry MP 3 November 1944 6 June 1947 Ulster Unionist
Lancelot Curran MP 6 June 1947 4 November 1949 Ulster Unionist
Edmond Warnock MP 4 November 1949 14 April 1956 Ulster Unionist
Brian Maginess MP 14 April 1956 20 March 1964 Ulster Unionist
Terence O'Neill
Edward Warburton Jones MP 20 March 1964 1 March 1968 Ulster Unionist
Basil Kelly MP 11 March 1968 30 March 1972 Ulster Unionist
James Chichester-Clark
Brian Faulkner

Direct rule 1972-2010[edit]

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative   Labour

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister (UK)
Sir Peter Rawlinson MP 30 March 1972 4 March 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
Samuel Silkin MP 7 March 1974 4 May 1979 Labour Harold Wilson
James Callaghan
Sir Michael Havers MP 6 May 1979 13 June 1987 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Sir Patrick Mayhew MP 13 June 1987 10 April 1992 Conservative
John Major
Sir Nicholas Lyell MP 10 April 1992 2 May 1997 Conservative
Sir John Morris MP Lord Morris.jpg 6 May 1997 29 July 1999 Labour Tony Blair
The Lord Williams of Mostyn 29 July 1999 11 June 2001 Labour
The Lord Goldsmith Ieagoldsmith.jpg 11 June 2001 27 June 2007 Labour
The Baroness Scotland of Asthal PatriciaScotland2a.jpg 27 June 2007 12 April 2010 Labour Gordon Brown

Devolved government 2010-present[edit]

Colour key (for political parties):
  None   Democratic Unionist Party   Sinn Féin

Name Portrait Term of office Political party First Minister and deputy First Minister
John Larkin QC 24 May 2010 Incumbent None Peter Robinson Martin McGuinness
Arlene Foster

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]