The Office of The Attorney General - European Public Prosecutor's Office

The Attorney General‘s Functions

Description of the Attorney General’s Functions

An officer by the designation of Attorney General, however, dates back to colonial times when Malta was under British rule and when by a Proclamation of August 1832 the then British Lieutenant Governor abolished the office of Advocate Fiscal and other public legal offices and transferred their functions to the office of Her Majesty’s Attorney General which was established by the same law. The Attorney General was described in the law as the legal adviser of the Government and ex ufficio General Magistrate.
This arrangement lasted only a few years and in 1839 the office of Attorney General was substituted with the office of Crown Advocate.
Under the 1887 colonial Constitution of Malta the Crown Advocate became a member of the Executive Council (an organ of government) and therefore for the first time the office became involved in the political process of Government.
In 1921, however, the Crown Advocate’s involvement in the performance of political Government functions came to an end and he no longer remained a member of the Executive Council.
In 1922, the office of Public Prosecutor and Treasury Counsel was created and the criminal law duties which formerly vested in the Crown Advocate were now transferred to the Public Prosecutor whilst the civil law duties previously vested in the Crown Advocate were vested in the same officer acting under the title of Treasury Counsel.
The Office of the Attorney General was later established by the Attorney General and Counsel for the Republic (Constitution of Office) Ordinance of 1936. The Attorney General under this law inherited all the powers, duties and functions which were previously vested in the Public Prosecutor and Treasury Counsel. The Attorney General, therefore, became the Public Prosecutor and principal legal advisor to the Government.