OIP Formal Opinions

OIP has issued 900 total opinions since its inception in FY 1989, including 339 formal opinion letters. Opinions are designated as formal and made available where they provide guidance on UIPA or Sunshine Law provisions or apply to factual situations that have not been fully addressed in prior formal opinions. Formal opinions are distributed to government agencies and other requesting parties and are also maintained on OIP’s website, where you will also find a searchable index by subject matter of all formal opinions.

Formal opinions are relied upon as precedent by OIP. Please note, however, that these opinions represent OIP’s interpretations at the time that they were rendered. The opinions may no longer have precedential value if, for example, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that affect the issues discussed in the opinions.

To view or print an opinion letter and summary, just click on the OPINION LETTERS link below. You may also contact OIP for a copy. Using your editing function, you can do a key word search within the subject matter index (MS Word version) for OIP’s formal opinions. Beginning July 2012, formal opinions are grouped on this website by fiscal year (FY). FY 2013 runs from July 1, 2012, until June 30, 2013.

Click on the topics below to see:

OPINION LETTERS: Summaries and Full Text

OIP Informal Opinions

INFORMAL Opinion Letter Summaries

OIP has issued 561 informal opinions since FY 1989. Beginning in FY 2009, OIP has posted on this website charts of its informal opinion letters, in three categories: Sunshine Law opinions, UIPA opinions, and UIPA decisions on appeal. Summaries of informal opinions from year 2000 to the present are also accessible by clicking on the opinion number, or by viewing the summaries found in OIP’s Annual Reports since 2000.

Before July 2012, OIP grouped informal opinions on its website by calendar year, even though they were numbered according to the fiscal year of issuance. Beginning July 2012, to be consistent with OIP’s reporting period for its budget and annual reports, informal (and formal) opinions are now grouped on OIP’s website by fiscal year, which begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. FY 2013 began on July 1, 2012 and ends on June 30, 2013.

Recent Court Opinions

In its first Sunshine Law ruling since 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a decision in Kanahele v. Maui County Council, 130 Haw. 228, 307 P.3d 1174 (2013).


If you require an auxiliary aid or accommodation due to a disability, please contact (808) 586-1400 or email oip@hawaii.gov.