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In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement, prosecutions or even responsibility for legal affairs generally. In practice, the extent to which the attorney-general personally provides legal advice to the government varies between jurisdictions, and even between individual office-holders within the same jurisdiction, often depending on the level and nature of the office-holder's prior legal experience.

The term was originally used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way may, in the past, be referred to as such, even if only for a particular case. Today, however, in most jurisdictions the term is largely reserved as a title of the permanently appointed attorney general of the state, sovereign or other member of the royal family. The term is pluralized attorneys general or attorneys-general.

Civil law jurisdictions have similar offices, who may be variously called "procurators", "advocates general", "public attorneys", and other titles. Many of these offices also use "attorney general" or "attorney-general" as the English translation of the title, although because of different historical provenance the nature of such offices is usually different from that of attorneys-general in common law jurisdictions


Attorney general sections
Intro  Attorneys-General in common law and hybrid jurisdictions  Similar offices in non-common law jurisdictions  References  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Attorneys-General in common law and hybrid jurisdictions
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In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement, prosecutions or even responsibility for legal affairs generally. In practice, the extent to which the attorney-general personally provides legal advice to the government varies between jurisdictions, and even between individual office-holders within the same jurisdiction, often depending on the level and nature of the office-holder's prior legal experience.

The term was originally used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way may, in the past, be referred to as such, even if only for a particular case. Today, however, in most jurisdictions the term is largely reserved as a title of the permanently appointed attorney general of the state, sovereign or other member of the royal family. The term is pluralized attorneys general or attorneys-general.

Civil law jurisdictions have similar offices, who may be variously called "procurators", "advocates general", "public attorneys", and other titles. Many of these offices also use "attorney general" or "attorney-general" as the English translation of the title, although because of different historical provenance the nature of such offices is usually different from that of attorneys-general in common law jurisdictions


Attorney general sections
Intro  Attorneys-General in common law and hybrid jurisdictions  Similar offices in non-common law jurisdictions  References  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Attorneys-General in common law and hybrid jurisdictions
<<>>