As the chief law officer of the state, the California Attorney General provides legal opinions upon request to designated state and local public officials and government agencies on issues arising in the course of their duties. The formal legal opinions of the Attorney General have been accorded "great respect" and "great weight" by the courts.
The Attorney General's authority to issue opinions is controlled by Government Code section 12519.
Government Code section 12519 states:
The Attorney General shall give the Attorney General's opinion in writing to any Member of the Legislature, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, State Lands Commission, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, any state agency, and any county counsel, district attorney, or sheriff when requested, upon any question of law relating to their respective offices.
The Attorney General shall give the Attorney General's opinion in writing to a city prosecuting attorney when requested, upon any question of law relating to criminal matters.
Under this statute, the Attorney General may give opinions only to these specified public officials, and not to private citizens or to public officials who are not listed in the statute.
A complete compilation of legal opinions of the Attorney General issued since 1980 may be viewed and searched using the search links below.
Monthly Opinion Report - View the current report of pending assignments and activities of the Opinion Unit.
Yearly Index - View yearly indexes with links to opinions published in a particular year.
Search for Opinions - Search for opinions by Opinion Number (e.g., 01-107), Official Citation (e.g., 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 113), or word or phrase.
The Attorney General is authorized to give opinions on questions of law to state legislators, heads of state departments, district attorneys, county counsels, sheriffs, and to city attorneys in their prosecutorial capacities. The Attorney General is not permitted to give legal opinions to members of the public. This includes requests from immigration authorities for opinions on the validity of foreign marriages. For more information about requesting an opinion, please see our FAQs and the Guidelines for AG Opinions.pdf a downloadable resource provided for users' reference.
To submit a request, or to ask questions about how to submit a request, please contact:
Quo warranto is a special form of legal action, most often used to resolve a dispute over whether a specific person has the legal right to hold the public office that he or she currently occupies. The statutes relating to quo warranto are in the California Code of Civil Procedure, starting at section 803. Generally speaking, a quo warranto action may not be filed without the approval of the Attorney General. In order to obtain the Attorney General’s approval, a private person or a local agency must file an application pursuant to the rules and regulations issued by the Attorney General. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 11, §§ 1-11.) The application and supporting documents must be prepared by a licensed attorney. More information on preparing an application is available on our Quo Warranto page. To submit a Quo Warranto application, or to ask questions about how to submit an application, please contact:
A copy of a published opinion may be obtained by contacting the Opinion Unit:
Printed hardbound volumes of Opinions of the Attorney General of California (1943 to present) are available for purchase by contacting Lexis Publishing online store at https://store.lexisnexis.com . Electronic based opinions dating back to 1960 are also available in the Lexis online database. Additionally, hardbound volumes are also an available reference in public law libraries