Ministry of Justice & Attorney-Generals Department
The Attorney General’s Department came into being in 1877. It first started as the office of the Judicial Assessor, who was the Principal Legal Advisor to the Executive Council established in 1850 for the administration of the Gold Coast Colony.
Then with the promulgation of the first Supreme Court Ordinance in 1876, which provided the framework for the administration of justice in the Colony; the office of the Judicial Assessor was abolished and replaced with the Queen’s Advocate Office.
In 1950, the Queen’s Advocate Office was also abolished and replaced with the Attorney-General. The title of the ‘Attorney-General’ continued to be used.
The head of the department was the ‘Attorney-General’. The title of the Attorney-General continued to be used until 1951 when it was changed to the “Legal Secretary of Justice”.
In 1950, the Lidbury Commission was set up to review the Civil Service and make recommendations.
It recommended the establishment of ministries based on the British Home Office. Among the ministries was ‘Justice’ under which there was the Attorney-General’s Department.
When the first all-African Cabinet was founded in 1954, a “Minister of Justice” was appointed to replace the Legal Secretary of Justice.
With the promulgation of the 1957 Constitution, the Attorney-General had responsibility only for initiation of civil proceedings by or against the state and for prosecutions in criminal matters, while the Minister became responsible for Cabinet and Parliamentary business.
The 1960 Constitution however made the Attorney-General a member of both the Legislature and Cabinet with a Ministerial responsibility for the Sector, the initiation and conduct of civil prosecutions in Criminal offences on behalf of the state, traditionally in the legal sphere..