Posted on Feb 3, 2004 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 04-02
February 3, 2004
Office of Disciplinary Counsel and Disciplinary Board

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”) and the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Hawaii (“Board”) are subject to the UIPA based on the totality of the circumstances.

Both the ODC and the Board are created and, to a significant extent, controlled by the Supreme Court of Hawaii. A majority, if not all, of the ODC’s and the Board’s activities relating to attorney disciplinary matters are powers inherently belonging to the Supreme Court that have been delegated to them. In addition, while their budgets do not come from government, the Supreme Court retains the power to approve their budgets.

The ODC and the Board are not subject to the UIPA insofar as they perform, on behalf of the Hawaii Supreme Court, the Court’s nonadministrative functions of disciplining attorneys because the UIPA’s definition of “agency” excludes the nonadministrative functions of the courts. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-3 (1993). Purely administrative records of the ODC and the Board are subject to the UIPA.

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