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Formal Opinions Process

The Attorney General’s Opinions Section prepares and issues numerous formal opinions each year on a wide range of legal subjects. A request for an opinion must be submitted, in writing, by an entity or official to whom the Attorney General may render advice. The Attorney General does not issue opinions to private citizens. A formal opinion cannot address questions committed to another branch of government, questions about the constitutionality of a state or federal statute, or matters that are in litigation. A formal opinion cannot resolve disputed matters of fact.

The formal opinions process begins when a person submits a letter to the Attorney General requesting a legal opinion on a specific question of law. The letter is acknowledged by the Opinions Section, docketed, and assigned to an attorney in the Section. A summary of the request’s subject matter is published in the Ohio State Bar Association Report and posted on the Requests for Opinions page of the Attorney General’s web site. Parties interested in a particular request are invited to submit comments or analysis to the Opinions Section by way of letter, memorandum, or other written format.

The attorney to whom the request is assigned will, if necessary, contact the requester for further factual or legal information, and then conduct a thorough and detailed review of the law pertinent to the questions presented. Once that research is completed, the attorney prepares a draft opinion, which then proceeds through several levels of review before it is presented to the Attorney General for approval and signature.

Following signature by the Attorney General, the opinion is issued to the requester. The opinion is also published in the appropriate annual volume of the Ohio Attorney General Opinions. Each formal opinion is also posted on the Attorney General’s web site.