ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Inquiry into Attorney General (NI) Participation in Proceedings of the Assembly: Terms of Reference

Inquiry: “The extent to which Standing Orders should permit the Attorney General for Northern Ireland (AGNI) to Participate in Proceedings of the Assembly”

(NB: the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 does not permit the AGNI to vote in the Assembly)

a)    To consider the legislation and relevant publications on the role and powers of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland (AGNI) e.g. section 25(1) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002; section 25(2) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002, “Establishing the Office of the AGNI (DP628); “The Governance and Accountability of the Public Prosecution Service;

b)    To examine the extent to which Attorneys General or other Law Officers in respect of other legislatures contribute to plenary and committee meetings;

c)    To consider stakeholder views on whether, and if so how, they would wish to see the AGNI being accountable to the Assembly both in plenary and to committees for the exercise of his functions, the operation of his office and his relationship with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS);

d)    To make recommendations on whether, how and the extent to which the AGNI will otherwise participate in proceedings of the Assembly, both in plenary and in committees;

e)    To report recommendations on whether, how and the extent to which the AGNI may, if required, participate in plenary or committee on guidance issued by the AGNI under section 8 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2004, to a range of criminal justice organisations on the exercise of their functions;

f)     To consider whether, how and the extent to which the AGNI might be asked to give views on the content or competence of Bills prior to Final Stage; and

g)    To consider section 25(4) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 and its application of section 43 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (interests of members of the Assembly) to the AGNI and the role of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards in respect of the AGNI and to report as to appropriate amendments to Standing Orders in this regard.

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