HC Deb 23 July 1998 vol 316 c603W
Mr. Cranston

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the role of Government lawyers in England and Wales. [52368]

The Attorney-General

Lawyers employed by the Government have a central role in assisting Ministers in the discharge of their functions. They are civil servants, and are accountable to Ministers, but nevertheless they are professionally independent and have responsibilities to the Courts and their professional bodies. In recognition of the special nature of the work of Government lawyers, and in consultation with the Treasury Solicitor, I have decided to publish a Guidance Note concerning their role.

The Note provides guidance to Government lawyers as to:

  1. 1. The inter-relationship between their obligation as civil servants and as members of the legal profession;
  2. 2. Their role regarding other civil servants and the Ministers or office-holders to whom they are accountable.
  3. 3. The special position of prosecutors in the decision-making process; and
  4. 4. The inter-relationship between the role of Legal Advisers to Departments and that of the Law Officers in the provision of legal advice to the Government.

I am placing a copy of the Guidance Note in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.