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lord advocate

lord advocate. The post dates from the 15th cent. when the lord advocate quickly became a prominent officer of the Scottish crown. He had a legal and political role, becoming public prosecutor with a seat in Parliament. From 1746 the lord advocate was largely responsible for the management of the Scottish administration until the department of the secretary for Scotland was established in 1885. Today the lord advocate advises the government on Scottish legal matters and has complete discretion over criminal prosecution in Scotland. He is often an MP and a member of the Privy Council. The post is political and changes with the government.

Richard A. Smith

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