1996 Official Opinions
IMPORTANT NOTE: Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions. They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law. Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general.
Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be. Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law. While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.
The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.
*Section 2.1-118 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor, members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998. The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.