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A lawyer; attorney-at-law. Attorney General Wirt (1817-29), under Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams , was the first to comprehend fully the officeholder’s need for administrative structure. During his tenure, the attorney general was finally given government office space, a transcribing clerk, and a small fund for office supplies. The practice of providing opinions to Congress was also curtailed during this period, when Wirt presented a paper to President Monroe outlining the extent of his congressional workload and his objections. Wirt told the president that opinions had been provided to Congress in the past as a courtesy—not as a Matter of Law Wirt told the president the practice would not continue unless Congress revised the law and made it mandatory.
No action was taken by Congress until February 25, 1870, when the Joint Committee on Retrenchments (appointed to find ways of reducing government expenditures) drafted a bill to consolidate legal functions and create a department of justice. The bill was made into law four months later, and the Justice Department officially came into existence on July 1, 1870 (An Act to Establish the Department of Justice, §17, 16 Stat. 162 June 22, 1870).
In the federal government of the United States , the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet and, as head of the Department of Justice , is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government. The Attorney General may need to be distinguished from the Solicitor General , a high Justice Department official with the responsibility of representing the government before the Supreme Court In cases of exceptional importance, however, the Attorney General may choose personally to represent the government to the Supreme Court.
Scotland shares the Supreme Court , with England, Wales and Northern Ireland for civil cases; the court’s decisions are binding on the jurisdiction from which a case arises but only influential on similar cases arising in Scotland. This has had the effect of converging the law in certain areas. For instance, the modern UK law of negligence is based on Donoghue v Stevenson , a case originating in Paisley, Scotland.
The OAG retains data related to complaints that members of the public file and requests for information. Each bureau maintains a document retention schedule. Consistent with the provisions in the General Retention and Disposition Schedule for Governmental Records issued by the State Archives and Records Administration pursuant to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, records that may be used for legal action are retained until the legal action concludes and the records are deemed obsolete.