Informal Opinion Letter Summaries

Since 2009, OIP has added to its website a list of its informal opinions, along with summaries of those opinions. To view a summary, click on the opinion letter number. To view pre-2009 summaries, please check OIP’s annual reports to the Governor and the Legislature; annual reports from 2000 may be accessed on OIP’s website under Reports.

OIP issues informal opinions generally in instances where the legal questions raised by a dispute have been previously resolved and discussed in a formal opinion, and where the legal opinion is based upon specific facts that limit the opinion’s usefulness for general guidance purposes. These opinions are often abbreviated in form and refer the reader to OIP’s formal opinions for a full discussion of the legal concepts applied. Informal opinions are not relied upon as precedent by OIP in the issuance of its opinions, and OIP does not maintain a subject index for the informal opinions.

The informal opinion letter summaries, dating back to 2009, may be accessed below. They are grouped into three categories:

  1. Sunshine Law Opinions. These are advisory opinions rendered in response to a request for a legal opinion concerning the Sunshine Law, a request for an investigation into a possible violation of the Sunshine Law, or a complaint filed against an action taken (or not taken) by a government board.
  2. UIPA Opinions. These are advisory opinions rendered in response to a request for a legal opinion concerning the UIPA.
  3. UIPA Decisions on Appeal. These are OIP determinations made in response to an appeal to OIP filed by a member of the public from a government agency’s denial of access to a government record.

Note that in contrast to informal opinions, OIP issues formal opinions that are published in full and can be found on OIP’s website, along with a searchable index. The formal opinions offer legal guidance to the public and government agencies by fully setting forth OIP’s interpretations of provisions of the UIPA and the Sunshine Law. These opinions are chosen because of their discussion of general concepts under these laws and their broad applicability to similar factual situations. They are relied upon as precedent by OIP in the issuance of its opinions.

Opinions are grouped on this website by fiscal year (FY).  Fiscal years run from July 1 until June 30 and refer to the year in which it ends.  For example, FY 2014 runs from July 1, 2013 until June 30, 2014.