About the Attorney General Opinions

The opinions of the Attorney General are the means by which the State's chief lawyer renders legal advice to the departments and agencies of the state government. This site contains the Formal Opinions from 1949 through 1984 (and Memorandum Opinions from 1954 through 1966) that were published in volumes by the office of the Attorney General, as well as the Formal Opinions that were issued from 1985 through 1998. Attorney General Theodore D. Parsons, who assumed office in 1949, initiated the system of differentiating formal opinions, memorandum opinions, and informal opinions, and of having an Opinion Board to review the opinions before issuance. This system is described in Attorney General Parsons' Preface to the 1949-1950 volume.

Memorandum Opinions were published only for the years 1954 through 1966 (with none issued in 1962). Up through 1963, the numbers of the memorandum opinions are preceded by "P-" and they are referrred to in the indexes with the abbreviation "P.M." before the year. From 1964 through 1966, the memorandum opinions have plain numbers and are referred to in the index with the abbreviation "M.O.".

Informal opinions are not published, unless the departments or agencies to which they were issued choose to make them public.

The Attorneys General during the period of these opinions were (with their years of appointment):

  • Theodore D. Parsons (1949)
  • Grover C. Richman, Jr. (1954)
  • David D. Furman (1958)
  • Arthur J. Sills (1962)
  • George F. Kugler, Jr. (1970)
  • William F. Hyland (1974)
  • John J. Degnan (1978)
  • James R. Zazzali (1981)
  • Irwin I. Kimmelman (1982)
  • W. Cary Edwards (1986)
  • Peter N. Perretti, Jr. (1989)
  • Robert J. Del Tufo (1990)
  • Deborah T. Poritz (1994)
  • Peter G. Verniero (1996)

Lists of the members of the Opinion Boards (later called Opinions Committees) were published for these years: