What is Attorney General?

Legal Definition
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (pluralized as attorneys general or attorneys-general, as "general" is a postpositive adjective) is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions they may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement, prosecutions or even responsibility for legal affairs generally. In practice, the extent to which the attorney-general personally provides legal advice to the government varies between jurisdictions, and even between individual office-holders within the same jurisdiction, often depending on the level and nature of the office-holder's prior legal experience.

The term was originally used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way may, in the past, be referred to as such, even if only for a particular case. Today, however, in most jurisdictions the term is largely reserved as a title of the permanently appointed attorney general of the state, sovereign or other member of the royal family.

Civil law jurisdictions have similar offices, who may be variously called "procurators", "advocates general", "public attorneys", and other titles. Many of these offices also use "attorney general" or "attorney-general" as the English translation of the title, although because of different historical provenance the nature of such offices is usually different from that of attorneys-general in common law jurisdictions.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
The chief law enforcement officer of the federal government or a state. The U.S. Attorney General represents the United States in litigation, oversees federal prosecutors, and advises the President and heads of federal, executive departments on legal matters. State attorneys general represent their states in litigation, oversee prosecutors, and advise members of their states' executive branches on legal matters.
Illustrative caselaw
See, e.g. Cuomo v. Clearing House Ass'n, L.L.C., 129 S.Ct. 2710 (2009).
See also
  • Executive power
  • U.S. Department of Justice: About the Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of the New York Attorney General
Legal Definition
In English law. The chief law officer of the realm, being created by letters patent, whose office is to exhibit ihformations and prosecute for the crown in matters criminal, and to file bills in the exchequer in any matter concerning the king's revenue. State v. Cunningham, 83 Wis. 90, 53 N. W. 35, 17 In R. A. 145, 35 Am. St. Rep. 27. In American law. The attorney general of the United States is the head of the department of justice, appointed by the president, and a member of the cabinet. He appears in behalf of the government in all eases in the supreme court in which it is interested, and gives his legal advice to the president and heads of departments upon questions submitted to him. In each state also there is an attorney general, or similar officer, who appears for the people, as in England the attorney general appears for the crown. State v. District Court, 22 Mont. 25, 55 Pac. 916; People v. Kramer, 33 Misc. Rep. 209, 68 N. Y. Supp. 383.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
The first law officer of a state or government.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary