Opinions

OIP Formal Opinions

OIP has issued 925 total opinions since its inception in FY 1989, including 343 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, unless they have been overturned by subsequent OIP or court opinions or statutory amendments.

Opinion summaries are provided by OIP for the reader’s convenience and have no legally binding or precedential value.  In the event of a conflict between the full text and the summary version, the full text of an opinion controls.

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 of the signed opinion. Using your editing function, you can do a key word search within the subject matter index for OIP’s formal opinions. Beginning July 2012, formal opinions are grouped on this website by fiscal year (FY), which begins on July 1 and ends June 30.  For example, FY 2013 runs from July 1, 2012, through 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 582 informal opinions since FY 1989 (including U Memo 16-1 and S Memo 16-1). 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.

Opinion summaries are provided by OIP for the reader’s convenience and have no legally binding or precedential value.  In the event of a conflict between the full text and the summary version, the full text of an opinion controls.

Beginning July 2012, informal opinions are grouped on this website by fiscal year (FY), which begins on July 1 and ends June 30.  For example, FY 2013 runs from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013.


Recent Court Opinions

On November 13, 2014, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued an opinion in Molfino v. Yuen, which held that the Uniform Information Practices Act, HRS Chapter 92F, does not create a legal duty to maintain government records that would allow someone to sue in a tort action for negligence if the government records were not filed in an accurate, relevant, timely, and complete condition at all times.

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).