Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

1.3m budget for NI attorney general

John Larkin QC
The Attorney General designate, John Larkin QC

The Attorney General designate for Northern Ireland has been offered a budget of £1.3m plus start-up costs to carry out his duties.

John Larkin QC had estimated a budget of £1.6m to cover staff and accommodation in Belfast.

In his report to the First and Deputy First Minister, he also recommended that he is able to attend Executive meetings as of right.

The ministers have not objected to this.

Mr Larkin suggested six people should make up his legal secretariat.

This is higher than the equivalent Scottish office which was recruiting a fourth person when Mr Larkin wrote his report last August.

But he argued that more staff were required in Northern Ireland because of the number of government departments.

He has also proposed that a special advisor be appointed and that a legal officer be seconded to the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels to deal with matters of EU law.

Mr Larkin also welcomed an indication from the PSNI that they would consider seconding an officer to the Attorney General's office.

The report was placed in the assembly's library on Wednesday.

Mr Larkin has represented many senior political figures including Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

He is a member of the Bar Council human rights advisory committee and trained the life sentence review commissioners in human rights matters.

The Attorney General NI will be the government's chief legal adviser.

He will be responsible for appointing the director and deputy director of public prosecutions.

He will also require the director to prepare an annual report on how he has exercised his functions, and will arrange for that report to be published and to be laid before the assembly.

However, some of the the current attorney general's functions - such as national security issues - will not be devolved.

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