Articling students work in three legal divisions with the Ministry of Justice:
- Public Prosecutions;
- Civil Law; and
- Public Law.
The lawyers in this division, known as Crown Prosecutors, prosecute offences under the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the statutes of Saskatchewan, in all Saskatchewan courts and in the Supreme Court of Canada. Crown Prosecutors provide legal advice to the RCMP in its provincial policing role and to municipal forces in matters under investigation.
About 100 lawyers are employed with Public Prosecutions. They are located at the Prosecutions head office in Regina and at ten regional offices in Regina, North Battleford, Moose Jaw, La Ronge, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton, Melfort and Meadow Lake.
Articling students work with experienced Crown Prosecutors conducting prosecutions in Court of Queen's Bench and in Provincial Court. Students can independently conduct summary conviction trials in Provincial Court and Traffic Safety Court. A student working in Public Prosecutions will gain:
- practical knowledge and extensive court experience;
- an understanding of the wide discretionary powers vested in agents of the Attorney General and the appropriate exercise of these powers in the public interest;
- experience researching and writing legal opinions on matters such as evidence, criminal procedure and statutory interpretation; and
- an understanding of the complexity of dealing with victims and other members of the public.
Civil Law provides general legal services to government ministries and agencies. Approximately 24 Crown Counsel lawyers work in this division in two general areas:
(i) Litigation: Counsel represent the government in civil litigation matters, appearing before all levels of court and before regulatory boards and tribunals. The types of cases range from personal injury claims to tax matters and administrative law.
(ii) General Counsel: General Counsel lawyers provide general legal services to approximately 20 ministries and agencies of the government. These lawyers provide advice in the areas of health, energy and mines, municipal law, environmental law, administrative law, family law, financial and commercial law, agriculture, education and transportation law.
Lawyers in Civil Law:
- prepare contracts;
- assist in the development of legislation, regulations and Orders in Council;
- counsel government officials with respect to legal requirements and procedures;
- provide interpretations of provincial and federal statutes;
- conduct legal research and work on policy projects;
- assist government ministries and agencies with negotiations;
- handle child protection and maintenance enforcement matters; and
- provide general legal advice.
Public Law offers students experience in four areas:
(i) Constitutional Law: Counsel provide legal advice to the government on constitutional matters involving division of powers and the Charter of Rights. They also advise on human rights and trade law. They handle litigation files that raise constitutional issues and represent the Attorney General in interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada. These lawyers may also provide advice or representation on Charter issues raised in prosecutions.
(ii) Legislative Services: Lawyers co-ordinate the development of, consultations on and implementation of, all Acts and regulations for Saskatchewan Justice. This includes guiding the bills through the legislative process in the Legislative Assembly.
Legislative Services lawyers provide legal advice to Executive Council, the Government House Leader and the Provincial Secretary. They provide legal and policy advice to other ministries, agencies and Crown Corporations in the preparation of their Acts, regulations and Orders in Council.
Lawyers participate in public and legal education respecting the legislative process and new legislation and they provide policy advice on consumer issues and financial institutions regulation. They also represent the Ministry on national committees with respect to private international law, consumer measures and civil justice issues.
(iii) Legislative Drafting: Crown Counsel draft all government bills and regulations, working closely with counsel from Legislative Services, Civil Law and other branches of Saskatchewan Justice, and with officials from other government ministries.
(vi) Aboriginal Law: Lawyers provide legal and policy advice to the Government on issues pertaining to Aboriginal peoples including jurisdiction, Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the duty to consult. The Branch represents the Attorney General at all levels of court in Saskatchewan and in the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, the Branch represents the Government in negotiations with Aboriginal groups with respect to self-government, Treaty land entitlement, gaming, and consultation protocols.
By working in Public Law, articling students will gain:
- experience with constitutional issues and Aboriginal law;
- an understanding of how legislation is developed and the lawyer's role in its development; and
- an appreciation of the wider policy implications of legal issues.