Title and statement of responsibility area
General material designation
- textual record
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
Class of material specific details area
Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General
Physical description area
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
Parallel titles of publisher's series
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Attorney-General’s Department was established in 1871 by authority of the Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, from 1863 to 1866, the origins of the ministry were in the offices of the Attorney-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island and for the Colony of British Columbia. In 1866, the colonies united to form one colony, with one Attorney-General, who remained in place until British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada in 1871. The Attorney-General was the official legal advisor of the Lieutenant-Governor and of the Executive Council. He was responsible for the settlement and approval of all documents issued under the public seal of the province and for the supervision of magistrates, police, and the constabulary.
In 1899, the department was reconstituted by the Attorney-General’s Act (SBC 1899, c. 5), which expanded the duties and powers of the Attorney-General to include: management and direction of correctional institutions, the British Columbia Police, and the administration of public affairs; provision of legislative and legal advice to the representative of the Crown and the heads of government departments; administration of justice within the Province; and regulation of all litigation for and against the Crown and public departments within the jurisdiction of the Legislature.
At various times several different agencies have been under the direction of the Attorney-General, such as the Industrial Schools for Boys and for Girls, Factories Inspection Branch, Electrical Energy Inspection Branch, Mothers’ Pension Board, Municipal Branch, Provincial Board of Health, Prohibition Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent of Neglected Children. In most instances these agencies have later been placed under the management of other departments, absorbed into new organizations, or abolished altogether.
In 1976, the Dept. of the Attorney-General was renamed the Ministry of the Attorney General (OIC 3199/76).
Scope and content
This series contains selected inward correspondence from 1872 to 1950, although most of the items date from 1872 to 1937. The Attorney General's Department used several numbering and filling systems during this time period. From 1872 to 1911 letters were assigned a number as they were received, and then filed in numerical order by year. From 1911 to 1917 a subject file drawer system was used, and thereafter correspondence was coded and filed according to the Act which applied to the issue under discussion in the correspondence.
By 1934 the B.C. Archives had acquired legal custody of a selection of the correspondence from 1872 to 1911. It is not clear whether the selection was made by the Archives or the Attorney-General's Department; the original folio listing for Boxes 1 to 18 was also created at that time. In 2005 the folio listing was expanded and revised prior to the microfilming of the records.
GR-0429 contains most of the extant inward correspondence for the Department between 1872 and 1911. A separate accession, GR-0996, also contains inward correspondence from 1883-1888. The bulk of inward correspondence from 1911-1937 may be found in GR-1323. There is no contemporary index for letters inward prior to 1911.
Although the items of correspondence from 1872 to 1911 were assigned numbers sequentially, the original order was not always maintained while the records were in the Attorney-General's Department. This means that the items are no longer in strict numerical order within a year, and items relating to a single topic may sometimes be found together, regardless of the date when they were first received. Unfortunately, almost all of the Department's letterbooks for 1872-1917 were destroyed by fire in 1939. Some correspondence was also destroyed by flooding. As a result it is not possible to locate departmental replies to most of the correspondence in GR-0429. Most of the inquests from this series were extracted and may now be found in GR-1327, although the covering correspondence may remain in GR-0429. Similarly, depositions and preliminary trial transcripts were separated and may be found in GR-0419. Oversize original items remain in their original containers and files but were filmed on Reel B09325.