A consultation into the role of the attorney general was today (26 July) launched by the Government.
The news comes a week after the Constitutional Affairs Committee claimed that the “ancient office” of the attorney general was “not sustainable” (www.thelawyer.com, 19 July).
The committee had called for reforms to restore public confidence in the attorney general following several controversial decisions made over the BAE Systems fraud and the ‘cash for peerages’ investigations.
Baroness Scotland, who took over from Lord Goldsmith as attorney general last month, and Vera Baird, the Solicitor General have invited interested parties to respond to questions about the attorney general’s role and responsibilities until the end of November.
The main tensions, which have led to calls for the 500-year-old office to be reformed, include justifying how it can be an independent guardian of the public interest while holding a ministerial role.
Baroness Scotland said that the government’s commitment to rebalancing power between the executive, legislature and the people inevitably involves reform of this historic office.
Scotland added: “The test for any proposal for change should be whether it enhances the effective administration of justice, the maintenance of the rule of law and the protection of the public interest.”