About Us

Royal courts of justice

Role and responsibilities

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) provides high quality legal and strategic policy advice and support to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.

The Attorney General is:

  • Chief Legal Adviser to the Crown;
  • a Minister of the Crown with responsibility for superintending the prosecuting departments, and
  • has a number of independent public interest functions.

The work of the AGO

Our work covers advice and support on the Attorney and Solicitor General's criminal and legal casework in the public interest, including:

  • referring sentences to the Court of Appeal if they may be unduly lenient
  • questions of contempt of court
  • prosecutions requiring the Attorney General's consent
  • issuing a nolle prosequi, to stop a prosecution on indictment
  • taking action to restrain vexatious litigants
  • intervening in the public interest in certain charity and family law cases
  • appointing advocates to act for the Crown
  • exercising the discretion to appoint 'advocates to the court' and 'special advocates' to represent the interests of litigants in cases involving sensitive material
  • referring any points of law to the Court of Appeal after an acquittal in criminal cases and
  • litigation and correspondence arising from the Attorney General's role.

Support to the Attorney and Solicitor General to superintend the work of the Directors of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which from 1 January 2010 incorporated the Revenue and Customs Proseuctions Office (RCPO) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Support to the Attorney General to oversee the functions of the Services Prosecuting Authority; the work of the Treasury Solicitor's Department, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Government Legal Service.