advisory opinion

advisory opinion

noun Law.
a formal opinion that is given on a point of law by a court, judge, or judges on request from a legislature or government official, contrasted with an opinion in a case at law where the point is being adjudicated.
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advisory opinion

in law, the opinion of a judge, a court, or a law official, such as an attorney general, upon a question of law raised by a public official or legislative body. Advisory opinions adjudicate nothing and are not binding, though courts sometimes cite them as evidence of the law. Federal courts in the United States will not issue advisory opinions, but such opinions are issued occasionally by a few state courts and routinely by the attorneys general of the various states upon the request of the governor, legislators, or other state officials. The opinions typically refer to the legality of some contemplated official action. Advisory opinions originated very early in English law as a result of extralegal consultation of judges by the king or the House of Lords on questions that often were not even related to the law. The function of the opinions was wholly non- or extralegal.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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