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A solicitor general or solicitor-general, in common law countries, is usually a legal officer who is the chief representative of a regional or national government in courtroom proceedings. In systems that have an attorney-general (or equivalent position), the solicitor general is often the second-ranked law officer of the state and a deputy of the attorney-general. The extent to which a solicitor general actually provides legal advice to or represents the government in court varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and sometimes between individual office holders in the same jurisdiction.
Solicitors General include the following:
- Solicitor General of the United States, the federal government's primary advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court
- In states in the United States, a state's Solicitor General is usually the top appellate advocate on behalf of the State, its executives and officials, and its legislature (sometimes referred to as State Solicitor, or Appellate Chief, depending upon the particular state). In many states, the Solicitor General also formulates a state's legal position in significant out-of-state cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. State Solicitors General include, among others:
- Though not a state, the District of Columbia also has an Office of the Solicitor General.
- In Australia the role of the Solicitor-General is as the second law officer after the Attorney-General. At federal level, the position of Solicitor-General of Australia was created in 1916 and until 1964 was held by the secretary of the Attorney-General's Department. It has always been held by a public servant. At state (and prior to 1901, colonial) level, the position has existed since the granting of self-government in the 19th century, and until the early 20th century was held by a member of parliament. During the 20th century there have been significant changes to the role, becoming increasingly independent and non-political to balance the increasing political engagement of the Attorney-General. Criminal litigation has largely been devolved to the various Directors of Public Prosecution. The Solicitor-General provides legal advice to the executive and represents the relevant government in court proceedings, particularly in constitutional matters.
- Solicitor-General of Belize, a law officer of the government of Belize, subordinate to the Attorney-General of Belize
- Solicitor General of Canada, a role now performed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- In the United Kingdom:
- Solicitor-General (Fiji), the Chief Executive Officer of the Attorney-General's Chambers, and as such assists the Attorney-General in advising the government on legal matters, and in performing legal work for the government
- Solicitor General of Hong Kong, until 1979, deputy to the Attorney-General; since 1981, head of the Legal Policy Division of the Department of Justice (Chinese: ) in Hong Kong
- Solicitor General of India, Attorney General of India
- Solicitor-General for Ireland, deputy to the Attorney-General for Ireland, until 1922
- Solicitor-General of New Zealand, the second law officer of state and public servant representing the Attorney-General in court proceedings
- Solicitor-General of the Philippines
- Solicitor General of Sri Lanka, the deputy for the Attorney General for Sri Lanka
- Solicitor-General of Singapore, formerly the deputy of the Attorney-General of Singapore, now subordinate to the Deputy Attorney-General of Singapore.
- Attorney general, the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions
- Justice of the peace, sometimes used with the same meaning
- Law Officers of the Crown, the chief legal advisers to the Crown, and advise and represent the various governments in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms
- Solicitor, a lawyer who traditionally deals with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in court