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Opinions Counsel

Both by law and by inherent power, the Attorney General and his office render written legal opinions when requested by authorized government officials and when the request involves legal questions that are within the proper purview of the office. Persons who may request opinions are the Governor, a member of the General Assembly, a judge, the State Corporation Commission, a Commonwealth's Attorney, a local government attorney, a clerk of a court of record, a sheriff, a treasurer, a commissioner of the revenue, a chairman or secretary of an electoral board, and the head of a state agency.

An opinion may be an official advisory opinion, which is signed by the Attorney General, represents his official view, and is published. It may also be an informal opinion, which is signed by some attorney other than the Attorney General, does not necessarily represent the official view of the Attorney General, and is not published. In addition, the Virginia State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act provides that a state official may request an opinion about whether particular facts would place the official in violation of the Act.

Those opinions which are public records are posted on the Attorney General's website and are also available through several commercial legal research systems.

While not legally binding, opinions of the Attorney General are frequently relied on by courts and members of the General Assembly, in addition to the officials to whom they are addressed.

 

 

Jan L. Proctor

Opinions Counsel

Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219