Case Details


Control Of Litigation

Filing State



Arizona Supreme Court




Arizona State Land Dep’t v. McFate, 348 P.2d 912 (Ariz. 1960)


Attorney General’s initiation of litigation in furtherance of the interests of the public in general, instead of the policies or practices of a particular department, was not appropriate

Case Description

Arizona Attorney General challenged a land sale by the state’s Public Lands Department. The court held that the Attorney General of Arizona had no common law powers and that the Attorney General should act as advisor to state agencies, and their legal work must be done by him or by persons chosen by him. The AG may only act against state agencies when specifically authorized to do so, and that was not the case here. “The statutes relating to the State Land Department and the State Land Commissioner confirm the role of the Attorney General as legal advisor and not as policy maker, and do not grant him special powers . . . to initiate legal proceedings on behalf of the State or in opposition to petitioners.”