Attorney General for Northern Ireland
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 responsible for appointing the Director and Deputy Director of the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland.
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. A Deputy Attorney General briefly held office in 1946, when the post was held by Edmond Warnock MP (21 June – 11 September).
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. 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 and a vacancy occurred. The current office-holder, John Larkin QC, is politically independent and took office on 24 May 2010, 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.
Devolved government 1921–1972
Colour key (for political parties):
|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|
|Edward Warburton Jones MP||20 March 1964||1 March 1968||Ulster Unionist|
|Basil Kelly MP||11 March 1968||30 March 1972||Ulster Unionist|
Direct rule 1972–2010
|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|
|Sir Michael Havers MP||6 May 1979||13 June 1987||Conservative||Margaret Thatcher|
|Sir Patrick Mayhew MP||13 June 1987||10 April 1992||Conservative|
|Sir Nicholas Lyell MP||10 April 1992||2 May 1997||Conservative|
|Sir John Morris MP||6 May 1997||29 July 1999||Labour||Tony Blair|
|The Lord Williams of Mostyn||29 July 1999||11 June 2001||Labour|
|The Lord Goldsmith||11 June 2001||27 June 2007||Labour|
|The Baroness Scotland of Asthal||27 June 2007||12 April 2010||Labour||Gordon Brown|
Devolved government 2010–present
|Name||Portrait||Term of office||Political party||First Minister and deputy First Minister|
|John Larkin QC||24 May 2010||30 Jun 2020||None||Peter Robinson||Arlene Foster||Martin McGuinness||Michelle O'Neill|
|Brenda King||30 Jun 2020||None||Arlene Foster||Michelle O'Neill|
- Law Officers of the Crown
- Advocate General for Northern Ireland
- Attorney General for England and Wales
- Department of Justice (Northern Ireland)
- Executive Office (Northern Ireland)
- "About Us". Attorney General for Northern Ireland. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- The Government of Northern Ireland: Attorney General
- The Government of Northern Ireland: Deputy Attorney General
- Section 1(2) of the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972 and section 10 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973
- Attorney General's Office: Statement on Northern Ireland devolution, 12 April 2010 Archived 5 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- OFMDFM: Appointment of Attorney General announced, 24 May 2010 Archived 24 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine