Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) provides legal advice and support to the Attorney General and the Solicitor General (the Law Officers) who give legal advice to government. The AGO helps the Law Officers perform other duties in the public interest, such as looking at sentences which may be too low.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Suella Braverman
Attorney General

 Portrait

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Emily Thornberry (LAB - Islington South and Finsbury)
Shadow Attorney General

Plaid Cymru
Liz Saville Roberts (PC - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

Scottish National Party
Angela Crawley (SNP - Lanark and Hamilton East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Attorney General)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Andy Slaughter (LAB - Hammersmith)
Shadow Solicitor General
Scheduled Event
Thursday 10th February 2022
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
10 Feb 2022, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Debates
Thursday 16th September 2021
Select Committee Docs
None available
Select Committee Inquiry
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Written Answers
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Rape: Prosecutions
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the prosecution rate for rape.
Secondary Legislation
Monday 21st June 2021
Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2021
This Order is made under section 3 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (c. 23). Section 3 sets out …
Bills
None available
Dept. Publications
Thursday 20th January 2022
13:42
Treaty
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Attorney General Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Apr. 28
Oral Questions
Sep. 25
Urgent Questions
Oct. 07
Westminster Hall
Oct. 05
Adjournment Debate
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Bills currently before Parliament

Attorney General does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Attorney General has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Attorney General - Secondary Legislation

This Order is made under section 3 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (c. 23). Section 3 sets out the functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions. These include taking over the conduct of all criminal proceedings instituted on behalf of a police force, unless the proceedings are specified in an Order made by the Attorney General under section 3(3).
This Order brings into operation on 28th June 2021 a revised code of practice prepared by the Attorney General and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland under section 377A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“the Act”) in relation to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
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Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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Petitions with most signatures
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Attorney General has not participated in any petition debates
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50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the number of police referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Government has committed to publish quarterly criminal justice scorecards which bring together data from across the system on key areas of performance including police referrals. This will allow us to identify problem areas and take a cross-system response to dips in performance. We have a number of measures to monitor different aspects of police referrals to the CPS so that we can identify where in the process issues are occurring. The first national scorecards were published in early December and can be found here: https://data.justice.gov.uk/cjs-scorecard-all-crime.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the prosecution rate for rape.

The stark drop in the number of cases that have gone before a jury in recent years means too few victims are seeing justice. Closing the gap between reports of rape and prosecutions is an absolute priority for this Government. The CPS are undertaking extensive work to drive up and improve prosecutions through the Joint National RASSO Action Plan with the police, RASSO 2025, and the Operation Soteria pathways, which are currently underway in five CPS Areas.

Work already delivered by the CPS includes the publication of a National Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) Framework outlining baseline standards around the CPS’ work with ISVAs, the publication of a memorandum of understanding with the police on seeking early advice to support effective and efficient decision-making in rape cases, and the publication of a digital walk through, which explains for victims the process of a criminal trial.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions there have been for offences relating to hare coursing by police force in the latest period for which data is available.

Offences of hare coursing may be prosecuted using offences created by the Game Act 1831, the Night Poaching Act 1828 and the Hunting Act 2004.

The CPS does not maintain a central record of the number of prosecutions for offences of hare coursing. This information could only be obtained by examining CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2021 to Question 98226 on Public Sector: Misconduct, on what date the Solicitor General's decision was communicated to (a) the family of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry and (b) the officials responsible for publishing the outcome of unduly lenient sentence referrals.

The Solicitor General communicated his decision to officials on the morning of 24 December 2021. Where a referral is made to this office by a victim, their family or a Member of Parliament, the Law Officers communicate the outcome of their decision in writing. This case was referred by members of the public. Due to the volume of referrals received, we are unable to provide individual responses to members of the public. The outcomes of all decisions are communicated to the Crown Prosecution Service who in turn advise others concerned.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, when she first knew that the Prime Minister was present at the gathering in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020.

The Law Officers have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues across government on a range of topics.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked for formal advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she had discussions with the Prime Minister before his oral answer of 12 January to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd on the content of that answer.

The Law Officers have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues across government on a range of topics.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked for formal advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the oral Answer of 6 January 2022, Official Report, column 146, on the Criminal Justice System: Disclosure between Parties, when the independent review on the disclosure failings at the Serious Fraud Office will commence; who will be conducting that review; and what the (a) timescale and (b) terms of reference for that review are.

The details of the review, including the intended timescales and the terms of reference, will be published once they have been agreed. I am committed to ensuring that this review is conducted as quickly as possible.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, with reference to Part One of the National Disability Strategy published 28 July 2021, what progress she has made on forming the Crown Prosecution Service panel to advise on improvements for support to prosecutors and the Policy Statement on Disability Hate Crime and Other Crimes against Disabled People.

A National Scrutiny Panel on Disability Hate Crime was convened by the CPS in March 2021. The Panel consisted of community stakeholders, academics and police. Discussion focused on a deep-dive into the handling of disability hate crime cases. As a result, the CPS will this month circulate a bulletin to all prosecutors. This will highlight key findings, lessons and top tips arising from the review. In addition, operational guidance has been refreshed and will be launched this month. It will provide prosecutors with an updated appreciation of how disability hate crime occurs, based on the lived experience of disabled people.

Building on this review, a refreshed communications approach is aiming to raise awareness of hate crime and in particular the confidence to report. The CPS Hate Crime webpage has been refreshed, along with prosecution guidance, policy statements, operational guidance and promotional material.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether her Department has had any (a) financial contract and (b) meetings with (i) Clifford Chance LLP, (ii) FTI Consulting or (iii) Fenchurch Advisory Partners in the last five years; and if she will make a statement.

The Attorney General’s Office has not had any financial contracts or meetings with Clifford Chance LLP, FTI Consulting or Fenchurch Advisory Partners.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search.

Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2021 to Question 98226 on Public Sector: Misconduct, what the average length of time is for decisions made on unduly lenient sentence referrals to be included in the regular updates of referral outcomes published by her Department.

There is no legal obligation to publish updates on the outcome of unduly lenient sentence referrals. The updates prepared by officials are checked manually and it is not always possible to meet the Attorney General’s aspiration for weekly editions, especially over the Christmas and New Year period. The Department does not hold information on the average length of time for updates

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2021 to Question 98226 on Public Sector: Misconduct, why the Solicitor General's decision was not included in her Department's updates on the outcome of unduly lenient sentence referrals published on (a) 29 December, (b) 4 January and (c) 5 January 2022.

There is no legal obligation to publish updates on the outcome of unduly lenient sentence referrals. The updates prepared by officials are checked manually and it is not always possible to meet the Attorney General’s aspiration for weekly editions, especially over the Christmas and New Year period. The Department does not hold information on the average length of time for updates

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service (a) on the Isle of Wight and (b) in the South East.

Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) published a report on CPS South East on 12 October 2021. The report found that the Area made strong charging decisions, and handled disclosure issues and victim and witness issues well. In addition, the report found that the quality of the Area’s RASSO casework was particularly good. HMCPSI will conduct a follow-up inspection of CPS South East next year to assess whether improvements have been made.

HMCPSI are currently conducting an inspection of CPS Wessex, which includes the Isle of Wight, and will publish the report on the Area later this year. Recent CPS performance data shows that the Area’s magistrates’ court conviction rate and domestic abuse conviction rate are both above the national average.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what the total floor area of her departmental estate was in each year from 2010-11 to 2020-21.

The total floor area of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is as follows:

2006- 2016 - 20 Victoria street – 371m2 (approx.*)

2017- 2021- The Sanctuary – 432m2

2021 - Petty France 639m2**

* Estimate based on floors occupied in a shared building, the department cannot locate total AGO allocation in this building so figure may not include meeting rooms and storage areas.

** Increase due to specialist rooms required.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, at what time and on what date the Solicitor General informed officials of his decision not to refer to the Court of Appeal the two cases of misconduct in a public office listed under unique reference number 731 in the register of cases reviewed under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

The Solicitor General communicated his decision to officials on the morning of 24 December 2021.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the trends in the number of people called to the bar in England and Wales over the last five years.

The legal profession in England and Wales is independent of Government and is regulated by approved regulators, for which the Legal Services Board (LSB) has oversight responsibility. The approved regulators and LSB are independent of Government. Data on the trends of the number of people called to the bar in England and Wales, broken down by gender, ethnicity and age, provided by the Bar Standards Board can be found here. The statistics show that over the past 5 years the number of females being called to the bar is greater than the number of males. They also show that over the last three years the number of those called to the bar from an ethnic minority background is greater than those from a white background. This is testament to the huge amount of work to improve diversity of those practicing at the bar.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether the CPS plans to issue guidance on the impact of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000's provisions on holding a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation on organisations or individuals who hold meetings with members or supporters of Hamas to encourage them to turn away from violence and join peace talks.

The CPS recognises the vital work undertaken by civil society to provide humanitarian relief and to promote peacebuilding efforts overseas and that this can take place within a backdrop of instability and fluid governance arrangements, including heavily sanctioned countries or in countries/regions where proscribed terrorist groups are active.

While there are no plans to issue guidance covering these specific circumstances, the CPS intends to publish general prosecutorial guidance in 2022 on the interaction between counter terrorism legislation and the work of aid agencies operating overseas that provide humanitarian relief or promote peacebuilding efforts. A draft of the guidance has been prepared and the CPS is currently engaging in wider consultation with HMG colleagues prior to publication.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the compatibility of the Nationality and Borders Bill with international law.

Any request for my advice is subject to the Law Officers’ Convention and this includes discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the compatibility of proposed legislation with international law.

The UK prides itself on its leadership within the international system, and that it discharges its international obligations in good faith.

Either the Solicitor General or I attend the Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee, which scrutinises all of the government’s legislation before it reaches Parliament.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the CPS’s ability to request and receive data from social media platforms in (a) general and (b) cases involving a deceased child.

Requesting data from social media platforms for use in criminal investigations – which may of course lead to the CPS bringing charges – is an investigative matter for the police, who will have to decide if that’s an appropriate line of inquiry.

Where investigators are unable to obtain data held overseas themselves, CPS prosecutors may draft and issue requests for Mutual Legal Assistance from international counterparts. That capability is further enhanced by powers created by the Government in the Crime (Overseas Production Order) Act 2019.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether (a) she or (b) the Crown Prosecution Service have set a maximum limit on the number of criminal cases awaiting trial, to act as a target for capping and reducing the current backlog of cases.

Neither the Attorney General nor the Crown Prosecution Service set maximum limits for the amount of time a criminal case should await trial.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases have been brought to court relating to charges made at England Euro 2020 matches played at Wembley.

No central data is kept that would identify how many cases have been brought to court specifically relating to charges made at England Euro 2020 matches. To obtain this information would require a manual review of CPS case files which would come at a disproportionate cost.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether (a) she or (b) the Crown Prosecution Service have set a maximum limit on the amount of time criminal cases should await trial, to act as a target for capping and reducing the increase in waiting times.

Neither the Attorney General nor the Crown Prosecution Service set maximum limits for the number of criminal cases awaiting trial.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutors were employed by the Crown Prosecution Service as of (a) 1 January 2017, (b) 1 January 2018, (c) 1 January 2019, (d) 1 January 2020, (e) 1 January 2021 and (f) 1 December 2021.

The number of prosecutors employed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are as follows:

Year***CPS Prosecutor Headcount
31/12/20162623
31/12/20172634
31/12/20182694
31/12/20192800
31/12/20203025
30/11/30213118

*The data has been extracted from the CPS Oracle HR database and is accurate at point of enquiry on 14th December 2021. Consequent changes to data input may mean that this data will change at some point in the future.

**The system reports data as at the last day of the month rather than the first therefore the table is presented to the nearest reportable date to the questions asked.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether she plans to ensure full operational independence of the Government Legal Department in their assistance of the inquiry into the events in Downing Street on 18 December 2020 announced on 8 December 2021.

In my roles as chief legal adviser to the Government and sponsoring minister of the Government Legal Department (GLD), I oversee the provision of legal support by GLD to all of its client departments, including the Cabinet Office. When advising their clients, GLD lawyers provide advice in accordance with their professional duties and on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor, who is the head of the GLD. The Ministerial Code and Cabinet Manual set out the circumstances in which ministers and their policy officials consult the Law Officers on legal matters.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether she plans to oversee the Government Legal Department in their assistance of the inquiry into the events in Downing Street on 18 December 2020 announced on 8 December 2021.

In my roles as chief legal adviser to the Government and sponsoring minister of the Government Legal Department (GLD), I oversee the provision of legal support by GLD to all of its client departments, including the Cabinet Office. When advising their clients, GLD lawyers provide advice in accordance with their professional duties and on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor, who is the head of the GLD. The Ministerial Code and Cabinet Manual set out the circumstances in which ministers and their policy officials consult the Law Officers on legal matters.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of prosecutions of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in each of the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has had considerable success in increasing prosecutions of modern slavery cases involving the exploitation of vulnerable people. In addition to the number of offences charged by way of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, CPS records identify the number of defendants prosecuted for offences related to modern slavery, including conspiracy to commit Modern Slavery Act offences, which is charged under s1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 . The number of defendants who have been prosecuted for modern slavery offences increased from 284 in 2017-18 to 322 in 2020-21, an increase of 13.4%. The increase has been achieved despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they give to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the maximum time after an individual has been arrested on suspicion of an offence that they may be charged with that offence.

There are a number of different legal provisions that provide a maximum period for the charging of a suspect in England and Wales, but those periods do not usually run from arrest and they only apply in certain cases. In other cases, there is no set time limit from arrest to charge but the courts do have the power to stop a case as an abuse of process if there has been such delay as to make it unfair that the proceedings should continue.

The decision to charge is made by the police in some cases and by the CPS in other cases. The CPS make the decision to charge in serious cases but over the last five years the police have made the charging decision in 61% to 63% of the cases that are prosecuted by the CPS.

The most significant time limit for the charging of criminal offences is contained in section 127 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980. That provides that summary-only offences must be charged within six months of the offence (not arrest) unless there is any special provision made for that offence. Those special provisions are limited; some provide for longer periods for certain offences and some provide for periods that only start once evidence of an offence comes to light.

There are also time limits contained within the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) that limit the time a suspect can be kept in custody after arrest. That can provide a time limit for the charging of cases when the police seek to charge and keep a suspect in custody for a court appearance. As a consequence of the time limits contained in PACE, decisions as to charge in those cases have to be made swiftly (the usual time limit is 24 hours, but more time can be available in some cases). For that reason, the CPS has prosecutors working 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to make charging decisions in those cases.

In other cases, in which suspects are released with or without bail (also known as released under investigation) there is no general cross government guidance on a maximum period between arrest and charge.

Timescales for charging decisions made by the police are a matter for policing. In cases in which the CPS make the charging decision, the CPS and the police have agreements in place that set a timetable that can change depending on the circumstances of each case. There will be cases in which the CPS cannot make a charging decision on the information provided and the case has to be referred back to the police for further investigation and a submission back to the CPS at a later date. The Code for Crown Prosecutors provides that decisions to prosecute should normally be made only when all outstanding reasonable lines of inquiry have been pursued or if the prosecutor is satisfied that any further evidence or material is unlikely to affect the decision to prosecute.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, whether she has (a) been asked to provide or (b) provided advice to Government colleagues since 1 December 2021 regarding the compliance of their Departments' with measures under the (a) 5 November – 2 December 2020 national lockdown; and (b) the 2 December 2020 – 4 January 2021 tiered covid regulations.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked to provide advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

The Convention protects the Law Officers’ ability as chief legal adviser to the Government to give full and frank legal advice and provides the fullest guarantee that government business will be conducted at all times in light of thorough and candid legal advice.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what advice she provided to Government colleagues regarding the compliance of their Departments with measures under the (a) 5 November – 2 December 2020 national lockdown; and (b) the 2 December 2020 – 4 January 2021 tiered covid regulations during the period of those restrictions.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked to provide advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

The Convention protects the Law Officers’ ability as chief legal adviser to the Government to give full and frank legal advice and provides the fullest guarantee that government business will be conducted at all times in light of thorough and candid legal advice.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of criminal prosecutions in which gambling is a relevant factor.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of criminal prosecutions involving gambling or in which gambling has been a factor. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people arrested in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, are awaiting a determination from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the dates of arrest for suspects in cases submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what her Department’s process is for (a) recording and (b) keeping minutes of all meetings relating to Government business.

Formal, structured meetings are usually minuted, however, not all meetings need to be minuted.

The Cabinet Office expects that the general guidance that departments give to their staff will help officials make judgements as to what meetings need to be minuted, noting their Civil Service Code obligation to ‘keep accurate official records.’ The retention policy of the Attorney General’s Office is that records of all diaries, calendars, gifts/hospitality, Invitations, outgoing correspondence and information on visits and speeches will be held for 5 years.

Specific procedures are in place for external meetings involving ministers. These are publicly available and can be found in the Guidance on the management of Private Office Papers.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many senior civil servants employed by her Department were based in each of the 12 NUTS1 regions of the UK on (a) 1 March 2019, (b) 1 March 2020, (c) 1 March 2021 and (d) 1 September 2021.

All Attorney General’s Office employees are employed in one NUTS1 region, which is London (Inner London – West, Westminster).

The number of civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2021 – 50 staff

(b) 1 June 2021 – 50 staff

(c) 1 September 2021 – 46 staff

The number of senior civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2019 – 6 staff

(b) 1 March 2020 – 6 staff

(c) 1 March 2021 – 6 staff

(d) 1 September 2021 – 5 staff.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many civil servants employed by her Department were based in each of the 12 NUTS1 UK regions on (a) 1 March 2021, (b) 1 June 2021 and (c) 1 September 2021.

All Attorney General’s Office employees are employed in one NUTS1 region, which is London (Inner London – West, Westminster).

The number of civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2021 – 50 staff

(b) 1 June 2021 – 50 staff

(c) 1 September 2021 – 46 staff

The number of senior civil servants employed by the department in this region and on those specified dates are as follows:

(a) 1 March 2019 – 6 staff

(b) 1 March 2020 – 6 staff

(c) 1 March 2021 – 6 staff

(d) 1 September 2021 – 5 staff.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what the average turnaround time has been for inquest applications by the Attorney General to the High Court under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 in each of the last 10 years.

Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 permits an application to be made to the High Court for either an order for a fresh inquest into a death, or an order to hold an inquest if one has not already been held. An application under section 13 cannot be brought unless the Attorney General’s authority – referred to as her ‘fiat’ – has been obtained. Once the Attorney General has granted or refused her fiat, the Attorney General’s Office does not usually have any further role in the process.

An applicant has six weeks from the grant of the Attorney General’s fiat to make an application to the High Court. The High Court will then decide whether to order an investigation to be carried out in accordance with Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Neither the Attorney General’s Office nor the Ministry of Justice hold data on how long it takes between the Attorney’s fiat being granted and the High Court disposing of an application made under section 13.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions are underway or planned of individuals charged with trafficking and smuggling people across the Channel.

The Government stands resolute in its commitment to tackle Organised Immigration Crime. We continue to pursue the Organised Crime Groups who facilitate illegal travel to the UK and who exploit vulnerable migrants, knowingly putting people in life-threatening situations. We are committed to prosecuting those who profit from dangerous and unnecessary Channel crossings in small boats.

We do not hold data relating specifically to the points in the question. However, so far in 2021, 9 people have been convicted for facilitation offences relating to small boat crossings, with sentences totalling over 17 years’ imprisonment. Further, the Joint Intelligence Cell activity (UK-France joint investigations) has seen 17 small boat Organised Immigration Crime Groups dismantled since July 2020.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to prosecute individuals charged with fraud by false representation particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.

In March 2021, the CPS launched its first ever Economic Crime Strategy to ensure they keep at pace with the constant changing nature of crime. It is a high-level strategy which allows the flexibility to respond and adapt to new and emerging threats.

The CPS has a dedicated Specialist Fraud Division to ensure it has the right skills and resources to prosecute complex cases.

The CPS also has a Proceeds of Crime unit dedicated to asset recovery and in 2018, the CPS created three new Fraud Centres in CPS Areas to increase capability and resilience in dealing with fraud casework.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to help improve prosecution levels under section 24 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861.

The recent rise in reports of spiking is incredibly concerning and is being investigated by the police. The CPS will always treat maliciously administering poison as a high harm offence and is working in close partnership with the police to bring perpetrators of this offence to justice.

Between 2020-2021 there were 222 prosecutions for cases charged under Section 24, which was an increase of 22% on the previous year.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure the effectiveness of the Serious Fraud Office.

The Law Officers’ sponsorship and statutory superintendence of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is undertaken in accordance with the Framework Agreement between the Law Officers and the Director of the SFO, which was published in January 2019.

As set out in the Framework Agreement, The Law Officers regularly meet the Director and her senior leadership team to discuss the SFO’s work in tackling the top level of serious and complex fraud, bribery, and corruption. This includes regular Ministerial Strategic Boards, chaired by the Attorney General or Solicitor General, which oversee the strategic direction of the SFO and hold the SFO to account for the delivery of its strategic objectives.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate she has made of the number of ivory items owned by or collated by her office.

The Attorney General’s Office has not made any estimates of the number of ivory items owned or collated by the Department.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what funding her Department has allocated to Stonewall in each of the last five years; and for what projects that funding has been allocated.

The Attorney General’s Office has not allocated any funding to Stonewall in the last 5 years

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many of her Department's ministers have been exempted from quarantine in a hotel after returning to the UK from a covid-19 red list country to which they have travelled for the purposes of conducting official business.

The Attorney General and Solicitor General have not claimed any exemptions from the requirement to quarantine after returning from a red list country as neither Law Officer has undertaken any official business overseas since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Details of Ministers’ overseas travel are published quarterly on GOV.UK, and all travel is arranged in line with official regulations.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many referrals the CPS received from the National Crime Agency for charging decisions under the Money Laundering Regulations in each of the last three years.

The number of referrals the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Specialist Fraud Division (SFD) has received from the National Crime Agency (NCA) for charging decisions under the Money Laundering Regulations for the last three years are as follows:

  • 4 cases received in 2018-19
  • 2 cases received in 2019-20
  • 4 cases received in 2020-21

CPS data is available through its Case Management System (CMS) and associated Management Information System (MIS). The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not break down figures that constitute official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

However, the CPS is not able through either CMS or MIS to breakdown referrals to differentiate whether they were made by the police or other investigative organisations in England and Wales. On this occasion we have been able to provide the data because of a recent manual review, so whilst we have endeavoured to produce figures that are as accurate as possible, this data is subject to human error.

The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and the official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many staff were employed in rape and serious sexual offences units in each (a) CPS area and (b) year since 2010.

Each of the 14 CPS Areas has a dedicated RASSO Unit, staffed by specially trained prosecutors and other operational delivery staff, equipped to deal with the complexities of rape cases. The below data shows the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff employed in each CPS RASSO Unit, which were established in 2016, as of 31 March for each year from 2017. The figures are set out in decimals as there are many part-time members of staff who work in RASSO Units.

CPS Areas are not uniform in size and as such there is a disparity in the staffing levels between each Area. Furthermore, case numbers and types of case in RASSO Units may vary from year to year and across Areas.

It is also important to note that CPS Areas have the flexibility to move staff between teams to support local needs. While the below figures show the number of FTE staff employed in each CPS RASSO Unit in each year, they do not include members of staff who have been moved to teams in other Areas to support local needs

CPS Area20172018201920202021
Cymru Wales27.0124.6421.6420.0618.97
East Midlands20.0220.5422.1920.1423.95
East of England22.2923.8523.7019.1919.65
London North*31.7631.7524.7626.11
London South*38.0236.3333.0134.14
Merseyside and Cheshire19.9821.8020.9419.9519.48
North East27.0028.3128.6826.7024.49
North West44.5750.5347.8745.8242.26
South East27.9625.1524..6420.9119.21
South West23.2921.9020.0218.0816.68
Thames and Chiltern19.8021.8220.0227.3324.14
Wessex26.2621.3022.5218.9819.33
West Midlands34.3833.6935.7436.5134.05
Yorkshire and Humberside37.4534.8035.0632.4835.95

*Prior to 2017, London South and London North operated as a single CPS Area, and the combined number of FTE staff in the pan-London RASSO Unit for 2017 was 66.23.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

This Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies on July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Attorney General’s Office always aims to respond to public correspondence within 20 working days where it falls within our remit.

My department's timeliness in responding to MP letters and Freedom of Information requests is among the best in the civil service. Since January 1st 2018, 80% of MP and Lords letters my department received were responded to within our target of 20 working days, and 99% of Freedom of Information requests were responded to within the statutory time limit. I am confident that public correspondence is responded to by my office in a similarly timely fashion and that every effort is made by my officials to respond as promptly as possible.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many referrals the Crown Prosecution Service has received from the National Crime Agency's International Corruption Unit for charging decisions for each year in the last five years.

The CPS is committed to tackling economic crime, including where these crimes span multiple jurisdictions. The CPS works closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other investigative agencies; this includes providing early investigative advice on cases, obtaining evidence from overseas using mutual legal assistance and proving support through its network of prosecutors deployed overseas.

The CPS does not breakdown referrals by individual departments within the NCA. The following data is available which shows the number of cases received by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division from the National Crime Agency for pre-charge decisions.

Pre-charge decision receipts

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
112620642

The following shows number of cases where charging decisions have been reached.

Pre-charge decision finalisations

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
02264234

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many cases referred by the National Crime Agency's International Corruption Unit the Crown Prosecution Service has reached charging decisions on for each year in the last five years.

The CPS is committed to tackling economic crime, including where these crimes span multiple jurisdictions. The CPS works closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other investigative agencies; this includes providing early investigative advice on cases, obtaining evidence from overseas using mutual legal assistance and proving support through its network of prosecutors deployed overseas.

The CPS does not breakdown referrals by individual departments within the NCA. The following data is available which shows the number of cases received by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division from the National Crime Agency for pre-charge decisions.

Pre-charge decision receipts

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
112620642

The following shows number of cases where charging decisions have been reached.

Pre-charge decision finalisations

2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021
02264234

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what overseas visits have been made by (a) herself, her predecessor or senior officials in her Department, (b) the Director of Public Prosecutions or senior CPS officials and (c) the Director of the Serious Fraud Office or senior officers over the last 12 months; which countries were visited; what matters were discussed; and whether covid-19 quarantine rules were followed by all people making such visits.

The Attorney General, Solicitor General and senior officials in the department have not undertaken any overseas visits in the last 12 months.

In June 2021, Lisa Osofsky (The Director of the Serious Fraud Office) and John Carroll (Chief Operating Officer of the Serious Fraud Office) visited the United States of America (USA). The purpose of the visit was to meet strategic partners and discuss collaboration and cooperation in tackling serious and complex economic crime. They both followed Covid protocols throughout their time abroad and on returning to the UK.

In October 2021, on a visit to the USA, the Director attended a work meeting with DOJ Senior Officials. In this meeting, she met with American Operational partners and discussed collaboration and cooperation in tackling serious and complex economic crime. The Director followed Covid protocols in place for foreign travel.

No overseas visits have been undertaken by any other Senior SFO Officer over the past 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, the Director of Public Prosecutions completed two overseas business trips, to Poland and the United States. During both visits, the DPP met key stakeholders, including HMG officials. Both of these visits provided an important opportunity to demonstrate support for CPS Liaison Prosecutors based in these jurisdictions and to cement the importance of their role and our cooperation with our international partners.

On both occasions, there were no requirements to quarantine on entry into either country, or on return to the UK.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the circumstances in which they would refer a bill passed by one of the devolved legislatures to the Supreme Court.

The Law Officers may refer the question of whether a Bill or any provision of a Bill would be within the legislative competence of a devolved legislature to the Supreme Court for a decision.

This power is set out in relation to the Scottish Parliament, the Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly in section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998, section 112 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and section 11 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, respectively. The power must be exercised within four weeks of the Bill passing its final stage in the relevant devolved legislature.

The Law Officers exercise this power where we believe that a Bill, or a provision of a Bill, is outside the legislative competence of the relevant devolved legislature. The parameters of the devolved legislatures’ competence are set out in the relevant Acts of Parliament which have devolved various policy areas. The power in each case is discretionary and exercised in accordance with the wider public interest.

Turning to the particular Act of the Scottish Parliament to which the question refers, the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament on 22 December 2020. Having taken all relevant matters into consideration, the Law Officers decided that in all the circumstances to use their discretion not to refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the law officers did not refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 to Supreme Court within four weeks of the bill being passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Law Officers may refer the question of whether a Bill or any provision of a Bill would be within the legislative competence of a devolved legislature to the Supreme Court for a decision.

This power is set out in relation to the Scottish Parliament, the Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly in section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998, section 112 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, and section 11 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, respectively. The power must be exercised within four weeks of the Bill passing its final stage in the relevant devolved legislature.

The Law Officers exercise this power where we believe that a Bill, or a provision of a Bill, is outside the legislative competence of the relevant devolved legislature. The parameters of the devolved legislatures’ competence are set out in the relevant Acts of Parliament which have devolved various policy areas. The power in each case is discretionary and exercised in accordance with the wider public interest.

Turning to the particular Act of the Scottish Parliament to which the question refers, the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament on 22 December 2020. Having taken all relevant matters into consideration, the Law Officers decided that in all the circumstances to use their discretion not to refer the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to the Supreme Court.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland