New attorney general John Larkin sworn in

Image caption,
Attorney General John Larkin was sworn in on Wednesday

Northern Ireland's new Attorney General John Larkin has been sworn in at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast.

Mr Larkin is the first attorney general for Northern Ireland in nearly 38 years and will be the government's chief legal adviser.

After taking the oath, Mr Larkin pledged his full backing for the independence of barristers.

"I intend to support our independent bar to the best of my ability," he said.

"What I do want to do here is to declare my firm view that an independent bar is a strong and protective force in and for the rule of law," he added.

"I look to my sisters and brothers of the bar to be inspired and sustained in that task," he added.

Mr Larkin also thanked his parents and said he was "overjoyed" that they were present to see him being sworn in.

The attorney will also have responsibility for scrutinising legislation of the Stormont assembly, along with the appointments of the director and deputy director of public prosecutions.

During the ceremony, Sir Declan Morgan, the lord chief justice for Nothern Ireland, said "considerable responsibilities" went with the office.

"For the first time since 1972 we have a Northern Ireland lawyer, John Larkin QC, to take them on," he said.

Last month, Mr Larkin said he might not have all the powers he needs.

Unlike his direct rule predecessor, he will not have any powers of supervision over the Public Prosecution Service.

He is also understood to have expressed security concerns about not being included on a close protection list, which contains many other figures from the criminal justice system.

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