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- textual record
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- British Columbia. Dept. of the Attorney-General
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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
Inquisitions (inquests) conducted during the colonial period, including the following:
Vancouver Island (Colony), 1859 - 18 Nov 1866
British Columbia (Colony), 1859 - 18 Nov 1866
British Columbia (United Colony), 19 Nov 1866 - 20 Jul 1871
The files usually contain an inquisition form, which indicates the name of the deceased, the coroner's name, where the inquest was held, the date, names of the members of the coroners jury and the cause of death.
These inquests were filed in the Colonial Correspondence under the name of the coroner or person conducting them. The indexing was incomplete and only those inquests held by persons whose last name begins with letters from A-M have been listed. It is not known whether this section of listings is complete.
To locate unindexed colonial inquests, researchers should look under the heading "deaths" in the index to miscellaneous correspondence inwards to the British Columbia Colonial Secretary, 1858-1863 (C/AB/30.lKl/l). Letters to which the index refers will be found in the Colonial Correspondence under the name of the author of the letter. Researchers should also look, in indexes under the names if the Gold Commissioners, since they acted as coroners. Indexes of correspondence inward to the Colonial Secretary should be checked generally for references to deaths.