The Counsel General for Wales is the Welsh Government's Law Officer, which means the Government's chief legal adviser and representative in the courts. In addition to these "lawyer" roles the Counsel General also works to uphold the rule of law and integrity of the legal community in Wales, and has a number of important specific statutory functions, some of which are to be exercised independently of government and in the public interest.
The Counsel General is appointed by the sovereign on the recommendation of the First Minister of Wales. The recommendation of the First Minister to appoint or remove the Counsel General can only be made if approved by the National Assembly for Wales. The Counsel General is a member of the Welsh Government and attends Cabinet meetings at the invitation of the First Minister. Although not a Minister, the Counsel General is bound by the Ministerial Code which makes some specific provision in relation to the role.
The Counsel General's statutory responsibilities are found in the Government of Wales Act 2006
The Counsel General is accountable to the Assembly for the exercise of his independent statutory functions. He answers questions in the Assembly once every four weeks.
The Counsel General may also play a role in the development of Welsh Government policy on legal matters. For example, he led with the First Minister in consulting for the public on a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction and preparing the Welsh Government's submissions to the Silk Commission on this issue.
From 1998 to October 2003, Winston Roddick CB QC fulfilled the role of chief legal adviser to the National Assembly for Wales. This was, however, a civil service post and therefore non-statutory and non-governmental role. Mr Roddick is, however, to be credited with suggesting the title "Counsel General", and as "Counsel General" in that form he had responsibility for advising the National Assembly on all legal matters.
From the coming into force of the 2006 Act a Welsh Assembly Government (now Welsh Government) was created to provide a conventional parliamentary division between legislature and executive, and the statutory and governmental position of Counsel General was created.
List of office holders
|Name||Image||Entered office||Left office||Political party||Government|
|Carwyn Jones AM||19 July 2007||9 December 2009||Labour||Labour/Plaid Cymru Coalition|
|John Griffiths AM||December 2009||27 May 2011||Labour||Labour/Plaid Cymru Coalition|
|Theodore Huckle QC||27 May 2011||19 May 2016||None||Labour|
|Mick Antoniw AM||27 June 2016 ||14 November 2017||Labour||Labour/Liberal Democrat Coalition|
|Jeremy Miles AM||14 November 2017 ||Present||Labour||Labour/Liberal Democrat Coalition|