What we know as the Shawcross principle was the subject of parliamentary debate on 29 January 1951.
In a lengthy defense of his conduct regarding an illegal strike
, Attorney-General Shawcross
cited hundreds of years of precedent
as to the firm foundation of his actions.
The principle (or doctrine) states that the Attorney General:
- must take into account matters of public interest,
- that assistance from cabinet colleagues must be limited to advice,
- that responsibility for the decision is that of the Attorney General alone, and
- that the government is not to put pressure on him or her.
The 1964 Rivard affair
in Canada caused the sitting Attorney-General, Guy Favreau
, to resign because of his non-prosecution of senior officials in the Pearson government
over their attempted bribery of American officials in Rivard's case.
The Shawcross principle was cited by Australian Attorney-General Bob Ellicott
who cited attempts by his boss, Malcolm Fraser
, to control his discretion.
In 2004 in the context of the Tony Blair
's invasion of Iraq
, a whistleblower
by the name of Katharine Gun
risked prosecution under the Official Secrets Act
. Lawyers for Gun, who was formerly a GCHQ
translator, asked for disclosure of advice on the legality of the Iraq war given by Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith
in his role as the government's legal adviser. Goldsmith said that he had conducted what is known as a "Shawcross exercise". Goldsmith sent a "Shawcross letter" to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw
, who was responsible for GCHQ, advising him that HMG should decline to pursue Gun.
- Keyzer, Patrick (2016). Public Sentinels: A Comparative Study of Australian Solicitors-General. Routledge. p. 312. ISBN 9781317073321.
- King, L. J. (November 1999). The Attorney-General, Politics and the Judiciary (PDF). Fourth Annual Colloquium of the Judicial Conference of Australia.
- McCarthy, Alana (December 2004). "The Evolution of the Role of the Attorney-General". Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law. 23rd Annual Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference. 11 (4): 30.
- Rosenberg, Marc (2009). "The Attorney General and the Prosecution Function on the Twenty-First Century". Queen's Law Journal. Kingston, Ontario: Queen's University. 43 (2): 813–862.
- Stenning, Phillip C. (2009). "Prosecutions, Politics and the Public Interest: Some Recent Developments in the United Kingdom, Canada and Elsewhere". Crim. L.Q. 55: 449.
- "The Decision to Prosecute" (PDF). Attorney-General for Newfoundland and Labrador. 1 October 2007.
- "Prosecutorial Independence – Continuity and Development" (PDF) (11). November 2008.
- Wong Yan Lung, The Secretary for Justice as the Protector of the Public Interest – Continuity and Development (2007) 37 HKLJ 319
- ^ Shawcross, Hartley (29 January 1951). "Prosecutions (Attorney-General's Responsibility)". Hansard. House of Commons Debates (c681).
- ^ Heintzman, Ralph (16 May 2020). "The real meaning of the SNC-Lavalin affair". The Globe and Mail Inc.
- ^ Dube, Jacob (14 August 2019). "What is the Shawcross Principle, the judicial doctrine that the ethics commissioner said Trudeau breached?". The PEI Guardian. SaltWire Network, Postmedia.
- ^ Rosenberg, The Honourable Marc (2009). "The Attorney General and the Prosecution Function on the Twenty-First Century". Queen's Law Journal. 43 (2). Retrieved 12 September 2019 – via www.ontariocourts.ca.
- ^ Spratt, Michael (25 February 2019). "Opinion: The real scandal in the SNC-Lavalin affair". CanadianLawyerMag.com. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- ^ Forcese, Craig (9 February 2019). "L'Affaire SNC-Lavalin: The Public Law Principles". craigforcese.squarespace.com (Blog). Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- ^ a b Colvin, Victoria (19 February 2019). "The SNC-Lavalin affair and the politics of prosecution". The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited.
- ^ Dyer, Clare (27 February 2004). "The importance of the Shawcross principle". Guardian News & Media Limited.
Last edited on 15 January 2021, at 22:20
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