[photo, St. Paul Plaza, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, Maryland] In Maryland, the office of Attorney General was established by the Constitution of 1776 (sec. 48). The office was abolished by Constitutional amendment in 1817, (Chapter 247, Acts of 1816, ratified 1817). The General Assembly in 1818 recreated the office by statute (Chapter 146, Acts of 1817). By 1851, the Attorney General's duties were fulfilled by a state's attorney in each county and in Baltimore City (Const. 1851, Art. V, sec. 3). The office of Attorney General was reestablished by the Constitution of 1864 (Art. V, sec. 1).

St. Paul Plaza, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, Maryland, January 2001. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The Attorney General heads the Office of the Attorney General (formerly known as the State Law Department) which was established in 1916 (Chapter 560, Acts of 1916). The Attorney General serves as legal counsel to the Governor, the General Assembly, the Judiciary, and to all State agencies, except the State Ethics Commission, which appoints its own counsel; the Commission on Civil Rights; and the Public Service Commission, whose counsel are appointed by the Governor. The Attorney General may render an opinion on any legal subject or matter upon the request of the Governor, the General Assembly (or its member), or a State agency (Code State Government Article, secs. 6-101 through 6-406).

[photo, St. Paul Plaza, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, Maryland]

In all matters in which interests of the State of Maryland are involved, the Attorney General and assistant attorneys general represent the State. This includes litigation in the Court of Appeals, the Court of Special Appeals, the Circuit Courts, and the District Court of Maryland, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court. Administrative rules and regulations promulgated by most State officers or agencies must be submitted to the Attorney General for review before they may become effective. The Office of the Attorney General also reviews legislation passed by the General Assembly; enforces the State's antitrust, consumer protection and securities laws; prosecutes Medicaid provider fraud; monitors residential juvenile facilities; and conducts criminal prosecutions and appeals.

Clerks of court, registers of wills, sheriffs, and state's attorneys of the counties and Baltimore City are represented by the Attorney General's Office. Yet, the Office does not represent boards or officials of the counties or Baltimore City that employ their own counsel, such as boards of education, or boards of elections (except in Baltimore City).

St. Paul Plaza, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, Maryland, June 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

By the Maryland Defense Act of 2017, the General Assembly directs the Attorney General to take certain actions regarding civil and criminal suits and actions that are based on the federal government's action or inaction that threatens the public interest and welfare of the residents of the State (Joint Resolution no. 1 & Chapter 26, Acts of 2017).

By law, the Attorney General chairs the Maryland Cybersecurity Council, and the Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee. Further, the Attorney General serves on the School Safety Subcabinet; the Board of State Canvassers; the Commission on Correctional Standards; the Correctional Training Commission; the Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board; State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy; the Governor's Family Violence Council; the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission; the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board; Juvenile Justice Reform Council; the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission; the Council for the Procurement of Health, Educational and Social Services; the State Prosecutor Selection and Disabilities Commission; the Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee; the State Board of Victim Services; and the State's Attorneys' Coordination Council.

The Attorney General is elected by the voters to a four-year term (Const., Art. V, sec. 1). The number of consecutive terms which an Attorney General may serve is not limited. The Attorney General must be a citizen of the State and a qualified voter who has resided and practiced law in Maryland for at least ten years prior to election. Though not specified by law, the Attorney General by custom takes office in early January, following the election.

In October 2021, the Independent Investigations Division was established within the Office of Attorney General by the General Assembly after passage of a package of police reform bills during the 2021 legislative session (Chapter 132, Acts of 2021)

The Division is charged with investigating all alleged or potential police-involved deaths of civilians. When such an investigation takes place, a report containing detailed investigative findings is provided by the Division to the State’s Attorney of the County that has jurisdiction to prosecute the matter. The Division does not decide whether to prosecute an involved officer and does not bring criminal charges. Rather, under State law, the local State's Attorney retains sole prosecutorial authority (Code State Government Article, sec. 6-106.2).

In October 2015, the Office of the Public Access Ombudsman was created (Chapter 136, Acts of 2015).

The Ombudsman works to resolve disputes between applicants requesting public records and the custodians of public records.

In 2016, the Public Access Ombudsman was authorized to investigate, evaluate, and issue a report to the public on access to public records, 2012-15, through the Howard County Public School System (Chapter 132, Acts of 2016).

Although the Office of the Public Access Ombudsman is housed in the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Public Access Ombudsman is autonomous and independent of the Attorney General.

The Attorney General appoints the Public Access Ombudsman to a four-year term (Code General Provisions Article, secs. 4-1B-01 through 4-1B-04).

In July 2020, the Special Education Ombudsman was authorized by the General Assembly (Chapter 562, Acts of 2020).

To parents, students, and educators, the Special Education Ombudsman provides information and support on special education rights and services, and is a source of knowledge concerning federal and State laws, regulations, and rules that cover educating students with disabilities. Further, the Special Education Ombudsman provides impartial advice on how to navigate the process of getting evaluations and services, and how to resolve any disagreements or disputes.

The Special Education Ombudsman is appointed by the Attorney General (Code State Government Article, secs. 6-501 through 6-506).


Since January 2023, the Chief of Staff oversees units formerly under the Chief Deputy Attorney General. In addition to the General Assembly Counsel and the Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, the Chief of Staff is responsible for five divisions: Civil Litigation; Contract Litigation; Educational Affairs; Health Decisions Policy; and Opinions and Advice. The Chief of Staff also oversees Administration, Civil Rights, Legislative Affairs, Professional Development and Planning, the Tobacco Enforcement Unit, and assistant attorneys general assigned to certain State government agencies.

In October 2002, the Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit originated as the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor within the Office for Children, Youth, and Families (Chapter 255, Acts of 2002). At that time, the Office oversaw the residential facilities where youth who were serious and chronic offenders were confined. Formerly, these residential facilities were supervised by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Later, the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor evaluated the process by which the Department of Juvenile Services monitored these residential facilities. The Office also reviewed the treatment of youth, examining allegations of child abuse or neglect in the facilities. In addition, the Office evaluated services to youth, and the physical conditions of each facility. In February 2006, the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor transferred to the Office of Attorney General, and was renamed the Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit (Chapter 12, Acts of 2006).

The Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit investigates the needs of children under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Services and determines whether those needs are being met in compliance with State law, that the rights of children are being upheld, and that the children are not being abused. To that end, the Unit evaluates the condition of facilities housing detained juvenile offenders, the treatment of and services to youths, and child advocacy grievance processes.


Formed in 1986 from the Criminal Appeals Division, the Civil Litigation Division represents Maryland State government and State employees in major federal and State civil lawsuits. By advising or acting as co-counsel, Division attorneys help agency counsel involved in or contemplating litigation. The Division reviews civil complaints for potential suits to be filed by the State, and all federal and State civil appellate briefs. The Division also approves the payment of all settlements and judgments.

Within the Civil Litigation Division, the Correctional Litigation Unit is responsible for the representation of state's attorneys in any lawsuit challenging their official actions, and of sheriffs where the matter involves correctional matters. The Unit also represents State officials and employees who are sued in State or federal courts by prisoners for violations of their constitutional rights in Maryland prisons.


The Contract Litigation Division formed in 1983.

The Division represents State agencies, particularly the Department of General Services, the Department of Transportation, and the University System of Maryland in litigation over disputes relating to State contracts and the award of State contracts under the State General Procurement Law (Code State Finance & Procurement Article, secs. 11-101 through 19-120). The Division advises agencies on procurement issues, such as the structuring of procurement solicitations, drafting of contract provisions and procurement regulations, the proper formulation of State claims, and State response to contractor claims.


In 1979, the Educational Affairs Division began as the Educational Affairs Section. It reorganized as a division in 1984.

The Division represents all State educational agencies, institutions, boards, and commissions, including the State Department of Education, the University System of Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Baltimore City Community College, and the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission. As counsel to these schools and agencies, Division attorneys conduct court litigation and administrative proceedings, and provide advice and preventive law counseling.


Within the Office of Attorney General, the Health Decisions Policy Division was created in 1998.

To health care providers, and patients and their families, the Division provides information and advice about health care planning, including advance directives, appointment of health care proxies, and end-of-life care. The Division also supports initiatives on issues related to individual rights in the health care system, and provides legal opinions and letters of advice concerning the provisions of the Health Care Decisions Act (Chapter 372, Acts of 1993; Code Health-General, sec. 5-601 to 5-626).


The Opinions and Advice Division provides legal opinions on law that affects State government agencies, and offers legal opinions to local units of government on questions involving substantial statewide interest.

[photo, Thurgood Marshall statue at Legislative Services Building entrance, Lawyers' Mall, Annapolis, Maryland]


Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401

Created in 1976, the Office of the General Assembly Counsel provides prompt and authoritative legal advice to legislators, General Assembly support units, and the Governor's legislative office. The Office reviews for constitutionality and legal sufficiency all bills passed by the General Assembly and defends them in court when necessary. The Office also participates in significant constitutional and civil rights litigation.

Thurgood Marshall statue at Legislative Services Building entrance, Lawyers' Mall, Annapolis, Maryland, August 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt


The Deputy Attorney General oversees the Office of Courts and Judicial Affairs, and seven divisions: Antitrust; Consumer Protection; Criminal; Criminal Appeals; Health Occupations Prosecution and Litigation; People's Insurance Counsel; and Securities. The Deputy Attorney General also oversees Communications, Multimedia Services, Victim Services, and assistant attorneys general assigned to certain State government agencies. The Deputy Attorney General is assisted by the Attorney General's Environmental Advisory Council, and the Pro Bono Program Committee.


The Antitrust Division was created in 1972 (Chapter 357, Acts of 1972).

The Division enforces the Maryland Antitrust Act which governs restraints of trade, unfair competition, monopolies, and other acts or practices that restrain or tend to restrain trade and commerce within the State. The Act calls for both civil and criminal enforcement of its provisions and permits the Attorney General to cooperate with officials of the federal government and the several states in enforcing antitrust laws (Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 11-201 through 11-213).


Organized in 1967, the Division of Consumer Protection oversees the control and regulation of unfair and deceptive trade practices (Chapter 388, Acts of 1967). Through court litigation, administrative hearings, complaint mediation, and arbitration, it enforces civil remedies. The Division also recommends legislation to the Governor and the General Assembly to protect the public from fraudulent schemes and promotions.

Information about violations of laws affecting consumers is reported by the Division to other law enforcement authorities. Publishing educational materials for the public, the Division encourages business and industry to maintain high standards of honesty, fair business practices, and public responsibility in the production, promotion, and sale of consumer goods and services (Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-501).

The Division oversees nine units: Arbitration; Education; False Claims; Health Club Registration; Health Education and Advocacy; Home Builder and Home Builder Sales Representative Registration; Identity Theft; Investigative; and Mediation. In addition, the Consumer Council assists the Division.

Under the Division of Consumer Protection, the Health Club Registration Unit started in 1986.

The Unit registers Maryland health clubs and ensures that they are properly bonded (Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 14-12B-01 through 14-12B-08).

Within the Division of Consumer Protection, the Health Education and Advocacy Unit began in 1986 (Chapters 296 and 565, Acts of 1986).

The Unit implements an educational and advocacy program enabling citizens to make informed choices in the health marketplace and participate in decisions concerning their health care. Moreover, it helps people understand their health-care bills and third-party coverage, identify improper billing or coverage determinations, and report such problems to appropriate agencies, insurers, or providers. Concerns raised about health care may be referred by the Unit to professional, licensing or disciplinary bodies. To government officers and agencies, the Unit also may recommend measures for promoting the interests of consumers in the health marketplace.

The Home Builder Registration Unit was established within the Division of Consumer Protection in January 2001 and assumed its present name in October 2008 (Chapter 522, Acts of 2000; Chapters 480 & 481, Acts of 2008; Code Business Regulation Article, secs. 4.5-201 through 4.5-203).

The Unit maintains a list of all persons registered to build new homes. All new home builders and home builder sales representatives must register with the Unit.

The Division of Consumer Protection administers the Home Builder Registration Fund which is used to cover the costs of administering and enforcing the Maryland Home Builder Registration Act (Code Business Regulation Article, sec. 4.5-203). Beginning in January 2009, the Division also administers the Home Builder Guaranty Fund, which compensates eligible claimants for losses incurred by actions or omissions of a registered home builder or home builder sales representative (Chapters 480 & 481, Acts of 2008).

Since 2007, companies that have a breach of personally identifiable information must notify the Attorney General and the customers affected by that breach (Chapters 531 & 532, Acts of 2007); Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 14-3501 through 14-3508. Since 2012, the Identity Theft Unit has been posting breach notices online.

In cases involving unfair or deceptive trade practices, the Investigative Unit investigates and brings actions, when appropriate.

The Mediation Unit was created from the merger of the Arbitration Unit and the Complaint Handling Unit in 1997. The Unit conciliates disputes between consumers and businesses (Code Commercial Law Article, secs. 13-401, 13-402).


The Office of Courts and Judicial Affairs represents and advises the Judicial Branch of State government. As such, it serves as counsel to the Court of Appeals, the Court of Special Appeals, each Circuit Court, the District Court of Maryland, and the 22 Orphans' Courts. The Office also represents and advises the clerks of each court (including the elected Clerk of the Circuit Court for each county), and the Registers of Wills for each county, as well as individual State judges. Moreover, the Office advises and represents court-related agencies, such as the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Attorney Grievance Commission, the Client Protection Fund, and the State Board of Law Examiners. In addition, the Office represents certain independent executive agencies that perform quasi-judicial functions, such as the Maryland Tax Court and the Office of Administrative Hearings.


Formed in 1982 as the Criminal Investigations Division, the Criminal Division was restructured under its present name in February 2007.

The Division is authorized by the Governor to investigate and prosecute a broad range of criminal acts occurring against and within State government (Const., Art. V, sec. 3).

Crimes by State employees, fraud against the State, multicounty frauds, public corruption, and criminal violations of State tax laws are the focus of the Division. The Division also investigates and prosecutes white collar crime, gun trafficking, insurance fraud, and multi-jurisdictional crimes. Moreover, the Division assists state's attorneys when they need additional resources or special expertise in a complex criminal investigation.

Under the Criminal Division are six main units: Environmental Crimes; Insurance Fraud; Medicaid Fraud Control; Mortgage Servicing Settlement Unit; Organized Crime Unit; and U.S. Attorney's Office Unit. The Division is aided by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force.

The Environmental Crimes Unit investigates and prosecutes environmental crimes. The Unit consists of prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, and investigators from the Department of State Police.


The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit organized in 1978. In February 2007, it transferred to the Criminal Division.

The Unit investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes allegations of fraud by physicians, dentists, nursing homes, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers receiving funds from the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid). The Unit also investigates and prosecutes the abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults residing in Medicaid-funded facilities. Seventy-five percent of the operating funds of the Unit come from federal sources.

Within the Criminal Division, the Organized Crime Unit was initiated in 2015.


In 1965, the Criminal Appeals Division commenced as the Criminal Division. By 1978, it reorganized as the Criminal Appeals and Correctional Litigation Division. It became the Criminal Appeals Division in 1986.

The Division represents the State in all criminal matters before the appellate courts of Maryland and the federal courts at all levels, including the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The Division also advises state's attorneys and other law enforcement personnel on legal matters.


300 West Preston St., Suite 201, Baltimore, MD 21201

[photo, 300 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland] The Health Occupations Prosecution and Litigation Division formed in August 2010.

The Divison prosecutes disciplinary cases against health care professionals referred by the professional licensing boards of the Maryland Department of Health. Most cases concern violations of standards of care, unprofessional conduct, substance abuse, incompetence, and fraud.

300 West Preston St., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


The People's Insurance Counsel Division was created in 2005 (Chapter 5, Acts of Special Session of 2004).

Before the Insurance Commissioner, and State and federal courts, the Division represents the interests of Maryland insurance consumers.

Matters pending before the Insurance Commissioner are evaluated by the Division to determine whether the interests of insurance consumers are affected adversely. To guard against excessive or unfair rate-making, the Division must review any proposal increase of 10 percent or more filed by a medical professional liability insurer or homeowner insurer. The Division has rights of counsel to a party in any proceeding.

The People's Insurance Counsel Fund pays the expenses of the Division. The Fund is financed by an assessment on insurers.

Appointed by the Attorney General with Senate advice and consent, the People's Insurance Counsel must be an attorney-at-law of the State, have expertise in the insurance business, and may not have an official relationship with or pecuniary interest in an insurer (Code State Government Article, secs. 6-301 through 6-308).


In 1962, the Division of Securities was established (Chapter 1, Acts of 1962; Code Corporations & Associations Article, secs. 11-201 through 11-207).

The main purpose of the Division of Securities is to protect Maryland investors from investment fraud and misrepresentation.

The principal executive officer of the Division is the Securities Commissioner, who is appointed by the Attorney General. The Securities Commissioner and the Division administer and enforce several Maryland laws, including the Maryland Securities Act; the Franchise Registration and Disclosure Law; and the Business Opportunities Sales Act.

Administration of these acts involves a substantive scheme of regulation imposed by statute and by rule requiring the registration of investment opportunities prior to their offer and sale to the public. Through a comprehensive statutory framework imposing administrative, civil and criminal standards, the Division enforces these laws. The Division uses investigatory powers, administrative hearings and administrative orders, litigation in State and federal courts, and cooperative efforts with state's attorneys and assistant attorneys general in criminal matters.

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