|Non-ministerial government department overview|
|Headquarters||102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9GL|
|Annual budget||£114.7 million (2009-2010)|
|Non-ministerial government department executive|
The Government Legal Department (previously called the Treasury Solicitor's Department) is the largest in-house legal organisation in the United Kingdom's Government Legal Service.
The Department is headed by the Treasury Solicitor. This office goes back several centuries. The office was enshrined in law by the Treasury Solicitor Act 1876, which established the Treasury Solicitor as a corporation sole (an office with perpetual succession).Employees of the department exercise legal powers which are vested in the corporation sole.
The department is a non-ministerial government department and executive agency.The Treasury Solicitor reports to the Attorney General for England and Wales. The department employs more than 1,900 solicitors and barristers to provide advice and legal representation on a huge range of issues to many government departments.
The department was historically known as the Treasury Solicitor's Department, but changed name to the Government Legal Department on 1 April 2015. The new name reflects a "significant period of change", which saw the department double in size to 2,000 staff.
The head of the department combines the ancient office of King's Proctor (or Queen's Proctor) with that of Treasury Solicitor. He has the formal title of Her Majesty's Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor (the Monarch currently being female). The office is currently held by Susanna McGibbonwho succeeded Sir Jonathan Jones after his resignation on 8 September 2020. He is also the Chief Executive of the department as an executive agency.
Government Legal Department lawyers work in both advisory and litigation roles. In litigation, lawyers bring and defend legal proceedings involving central government and related bodies. In advisory teams, lawyers provide advice to ministers and civil servants on both the current law and on proposed Government policies and future legislation.
The department is the authorised address for service of proceedings on most government departments, by virtue of the list published under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947.
In England (with the exception of Lancashire, Manchester and Cornwall, where the function is delegated to Farrer & Co), the Treasury Solicitor is the Crown's nominee for the collection and disposition of ownerless property ( bona vacantia ).This typically comprises the assets of dissolved companies and the estates of persons who die intestate and with no known kin.
The office of King's (or Queen's) Proctor is ancient; it also came to be known as HM Procurator General.The following were King's or Queen's Proctor after 1660:
Historically, there were two solicitors in the Treasury. The first (The Solicitor for Negotiating and Looking after the Affairs of the Treasury), which existed alone until 1696, had become a sinecure by 1744, and perhaps as early as 1716; from the late 18th century the office included a salary of £200 a year. It was abolished in 1800. A second Treasury Solicitor, the precursor of the modern office, was established in 1696 and was assigned all the legal business undertaken in Westminster Hall; as the first Solicitor became a sinecure, the second Solicitor became the only one responsible for legal business. By 1786, its office-holder was carrying out legal work for other secretaries of state and the Attorney-General, and in the early nineteenth century was employed by other government departments as well. From 1794, the Solicitor was also barred from running their own private practice. The salary began at £500, increased to £1,000 in 1755 and then to £2,000 in 1794; until the 1830s, the Solicitor also charged fees for work done in departments outside the Treasury, but these were then abolished and he received an allowance of £850 in addition to his salary. The whole salary was fixed at £2,000 in 1851, and then increased to £2,500 in 1872.The following were Treasury Solicitors after 1660.
In 1876, Augustus Keppel Stephenson, the Treasury Solicitor, was appointed Queen's Proctor and Procurator General; since then, the offices of Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor have been held together.By 1971, the office came with a salary of £14,000 a year. The following have been jointly HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor:
Lieutenant-colonel William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle,, MP, ADC, styled Viscount Bury between 1851 and 1891, was a British soldier and politician. He served in the British Army before entering Parliament in 1857. Initially a Liberal, he served as Treasurer of the Household between 1859 and 1866 in the Liberal administrations headed by Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. He later switched to the Conservatives and held office as Under-Secretary of State for War under Lord Beaconsfield between 1878 and 1880 and under Lord Salisbury between 1885 and 1886. Lord Albemarle was 6th in direct line-of-descent from HM King Charles II; he was the father-in-law of the Honourable Mrs George (Alice) Keppel (1898-1910) the mistress and confidante of HM King Edward VII; and he was the great great grandfather of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO.
The Master of the Household is the operational head of the "below stairs" elements of the Royal Households of the United Kingdom. The role has charge of the domestic staff, from the Royal Kitchens, the pages and footmen, to the housekeeper and their staff.
Sir John Christopher Sainty, KCB, FSA is a retired British civil servant who was Clerk of the Parliaments from 1983 to 1990.
Sir Paul Christopher Jenkins, KCB, QC (Hon), was a British barrister.
Sir Augustus Frederick William Keppel Stephenson, was a Treasury Solicitor and the second person to hold the office of Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales.
The Attorney General's Office (AGO) is a United Kingdom government department that supports the Attorney General and their deputy, the Solicitor General. It is sometimes referred to as the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is the third most senior public prosecutor in England and Wales. The DPP is the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), with personal responsibility for its 7,000 staff and approximately 800,000 prosecutions undertaken by it every year. The holder of the role is appointed by the Attorney General on the recommendation of a panel that includes the First Civil Service Commissioner.
Dame Juliet Louise Wheldon DCB, QC was a British civil servant, latterly the legal adviser to Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England. From July 2000 until 2006 she was the first British woman to serve as Treasury Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service. In 2008 she was named as one of The Times Law 100.
Sir Michael James Kerry KCB QC MA was the holder of the official titles of Her Majesty's Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor from 1980 to 1984.
Sir Jonathan Guy Jones is a British lawyer, appointed in March 2014 and serving until his resignation on 8 September 2020 as HM Procurator General, Treasury Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service, and so the Permanent Secretary of the Government Legal Department.
Alfred Clive Lawrence, CBE, commonly known by his middle name, was a British barrister, who was HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor from 1923 until his death in 1926.
Sir Thomas James Barnes was an English lawyer, who served as HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor between 1934 and 1953.
Sir Harold Simcox Kent was a British lawyer.
Sir William Arthur Harvey Druitt, KCB, commonly known as Sir Harvey Druitt, was a British lawyer.
Sir Henry Gabriel Ware, KCB was a British lawyer and government official.
Sir John Bilsland Bailey was a British solicitor and public servant.
Sir James Nursaw, KCB, QC is a retired British lawyer and public servant.
Sir Gerald Albery Hosker, KCB is a retired British lawyer and public servant.
The Counsel to the Navy Department, Ministry of Defence originally called Counsel to the Navy Board was an appointed legal adviser to the Royal Navy from 1673 to 1995.
The Legal Adviser to the Home Office is a senior government lawyer and the chief legal adviser to the Home Office. The office was formally established in 1933, but older offices with similar functions date back to the early nineteenth century.