Prince Edward Island. Department of Justice and Attorney General

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Prince Edward Island. Department of Justice and Attorney General

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An order-in-council dated 28 June 1769 authorized the establishment of a government on Prince Edward Island and provided for the following positions: a Governor, Chief Justice, Secretary and Registrar, Attorney-General, Clerk of the Crown and Coroner, Provost Marshal and Agent and Receiver of Quit Rents.

Generally, the office of Attorney General has been held by the Premier or a senior member of Cabinet, and, usually, by a lawyer elected to the Legislative Assembly which is stipulated in the provincial legislature. The duty of the Attorney General has been to provide legal advice to government and the Executive Council. The Attorney General has advised the Governor on matters of pardon from prisons, however the 1931 Ticket of Leave Act permitted the release of prisoners on order from the Executive Council.

An office of Solicitor General was included in the Cabinet, but was abolished in 1876 with the Public Departments Act (39 Vic., c10). The office of Attorney General has also been known as the Attorney and Advocate General and in more recent years as the Department of Justice and Attorney General and Department of Provincial Affairs and Attorney General.

For many years the Department consisted of the Attorney General, his secretary, a few jailers and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which took over provincial policing in 1932, under the direction of the Attorney General. The Attorney General himself, or the deputy or practising lawyers were hired as crown attorneys for court work.

In 1950, the Department of Justice included approximately 15 employees including prothonotaries, sheriffs and stenographers. A deputy minister was first appointed in 1950. The Deputy Attorney General and or the Assistant Deputy Attorney General has taken on more duties including responsibility for the administration of justice in the province, legal advisor to government and departments, making recommendations to Attorney General on legal matters, preparation of legislation including drafting and indexing provincial statutes and regulations, interpretation of legislation, advising Attorney General, Crown Prosecutor and police on matters of prosecutions and enforcement of the law, attendance in courts, researching legal matters, conferences and consultations with other provinces and individuals on legal matters.

The ministry of the Attorney-General was renamed the Department of Justice in 1970. In 1971, the Department was reorganized and restructured under a new Deputy Minister in 6 divisions: administration (Deputy Minister), law enforcement (Officer Commanding R.C.M.P.), judicial (Prothonotary of the Supreme Court and Chief Judicial Officer), corrections, probation and family court services, and legislation.

In 1993, the Public Departments Act renamed the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the Department of Provincial Affairs and Attorney General.

Individuals who have served as Attorney General include: Phillips Callbeck, Joseph Aplin, John Wentworth, Peter Macgowan, Charles Stewart, William Johnston, Robert Hodgson, Charles Young, James Bardin Palmer, Edward Palmer, Joseph Hensley, Frederick Brecken, Dennis O'M. Reddin, L.H. Davies, W.W. Sullivan, Donald A. MacKinnon, Frederick Peters, J.A. Mathieson, F.L. Haszard, J.H. Palmer (acting), Arthur Peters, A.C. Saunders, Aubin E. Arsenault, J.D. Stewart, Thane A. Campbell, H.Francis MacPhee, Frederic A. Large, Walter E. Darby, M.A. Farmer, J. Elmer Blanchard, R.R. Bell, Melvin McQuaid, Gordon L. Bennett (Minister of Justice and Attorney General), Alexander B. Campbell, Horace B. Carver, George R. McMahon, Wayne Cheverie, Joseph A. Ghiz, Walter MacEwen, and Alan Buchanan.
Deputy Attorneys General have included: John Allen, J. Arthur McGuigan, Wendall MacKay (Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Deputy Minister of Justice).


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