The Resource Agency history of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General
- Agency history of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General
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- The Office of the Attorney General originated in medieval England. While representing the king in his courts, the Attorney General gradually assumed the role of legal advisor to the government and all its agencies. In Virginia, the first Attorney General was commissioned in 1643. The Declaration of Independence in 1776 ended the Attorney General's connection with royal authority, but the state constitution adopted that year continued the office under the auspices of the General Assembly.
- The constitution adopted in 1851 provided for the popular election of the Attorney General, rendering him independent of all three branches of government. On April 27, 1927, the General Assembly passed a state government reorganization act that created the Department of Law, with the Attorney General serving as the chief executive officer. The Office represents the interests of the Commonwealth in civil cases in which the Commonwealth or any of its agencies or officials is named as a party, and in criminal cases on appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia. In cases involving federal law, the Attorney General also represents the Commonwealth's interests. The Office also defends the constitutionality of state laws when they are challenged in court, represents consumers in utility matters before the State Corporation Commission, and collects debts owed to state agencies, hospitals and universities. Additionally, the Attorney General serves as the legal advisor to the Governor and more than 200 state agencies, boards, commissions and institutions. He renders official opinions upon the written request of the Governor, members of the General Assembly, members of the judiciary, state officials, and local constitutional officers.
- The Office of the Attorney General is organized into the following divisions: Civil Litigation, Public Safety and Enforcement, Health, Education and Social Services, and Technology and Transportation, Commerce, Finance, Opinions, Elections and Collections, and Sexual Predators, Tobacco, Alcohol and Gaming. Each division is headed by a Deputy Attorney General who reports to the Chief Deputy Attorney General, an appointee of the Attorney General.
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