Upon gaining Independence in 1962, the Constitution of Trinidad and
Tobago expressly assigned to the Attorney General the powers now
exercised by the Director of Public Prosecutions i.e. the institution
and undertaking of criminal proceedings. Upon attaining Republican
status in 1976, the Constitution declared the Attorney General a
Minister and assigned him/her responsibility for the administration of
legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago. Legal proceedings for and against
the State must be taken, in the case of civil proceedings, in his/her
name and in the case of criminal proceedings in the name of the State.
From time to time after 1976 there have been changes in the structure of
the Office of the Attorney General. From 1979 to 1990, the Office of the
Attorney General functioned under the umbrella of the Ministry of the
Attorney General and Legal Affairs, where both an Attorney General and
Minister of Legal Affairs operated conjointly. In 1997 however, the
ministry portfolios were split into two, where they functioned as
separate entities and in 1999 subsequently re-joined but were
separated again three years later in 2002. On September 7, 2015 the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago merged the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Legal Affairs to once more operate as the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs under the present headship of the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Honourable Faris Al-Rawi.
Noteworthy is that the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs has also been a leader in the
public service with the establishment of the Health and Recreation
Centre and the Vacation and After-School Centre, both the first of their
kind in any Government Agency in Trinidad and Tobago.