Area of Law: Government and The Justice System
Answer # 722
Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG)Region: Ontario Answer # 722
The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for providing a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it services across government and the province.
The Ministry delivers and administers a wide range of justice services including:
- Administering approximately 115 statutes;
- Conducting criminal proceedings throughout Ontario;
- Providing legal advice to, and conducting litigation on behalf of, all government Ministries and many Agencies, Boards and Tribunals;
- Providing advice on, and drafting, all legislation and regulations; and
- Coordinating and administering court services throughout Ontario.
Some of the offices that fall within the Ministry of the Attorney General’s responsibilities include the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The Ministry also partially funds Legal Aid Ontario.
The Ministry of the Attorney General oversees the administration of justice in Ontario. The justice system is a complex institution that addresses criminal, civil and family law matters. The Ministry has four core responsibilities. They are responsible for:
1. Prosecuting crime, supporting victims of crime and preserving public order and personal safety.
More than 850 Assistant Crown Attorneys and Crown Counsel prosecute over 500,000 charges each year. Crown Attorneys have dedicated time to spend with victims and witnesses. Victims now receive support in the criminal justice system through such initiatives as the Victim/Witness Assistance Program, which is offered by the Ministry of the Attorney General in all 54 court districts.
In the criminal justice system, the Ministry is a partner with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which is responsible for policing and corrections.
2. Providing criminal, civil and family courts and related justice services.
The Ministry provides services that support Ontario’s criminal, civil and family courts. More than 250 court offices around the province serve litigants, the judiciary, lawyers, Crown Attorneys, police and the public.
3. Providing decision-making, enforcement, and justice support services to vulnerable people.
The services provided include: enforcement of support orders so families and children get the money to which they are legally entitled, decision-making on behalf of mentally incapable people with no one else to act on their behalf, legal representation of children, and funding for Legal Aid Ontario.
4. Providing legal services to government Ministries, Agencies, Boards and Commissions.
Essentially, the Legal Services Division of the Ministry acts as a legal advisor to other Ministries and a select group of Agencies, Boards and Commissions of the government of Ontario. It also maintains a law library, which consists of legislation, journals, legal texts and reports. This library is for the use and benefit of the Ministry.
Within the Legal Services Division, the Legal Services Program of the Ministry provides a Central Registry. The Registry is a centralized file management system for:
- Legal Services, including Crown Law Office, Civil Division; and Constitutional Law Branch; and
- Crown Law Office, Criminal Division; and Policy Branch – Business Policy & Planning Division.
The main function of the Central Registry is to register, store, maintain and archive court actions (e.g. litigation, appeals, legal opinions etc.), and legislative and policy matters.
Lastly, the Legal Services Division is responsible for the:
- Assistant Deputy Attorney General’s (ADAG) Office
- Constitutional Law Branch
- Crown Law Office – Civil
- Seconded Legal Services Branch.
For more information, refer to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website.
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