I saw this disclaimer.

This article provides information, rather than advice or opinion.

I could understand that "advice" aka legal advice may be scary since that could lead to liability for incomplete/bad legal advice but what is the difference between "information" and an "opinion"?

What one calls "information" another one calls "opinion". How could there be any "information" that is so neutral, factual, that it is not an "opinion"?

Are these terms defined in law somewhere?

3 Answers 3


A lawyer providing "information" is typically just describing the general state of the law. This usually entails a discussion of some legally significant event (such as a court ruling or enactment of legislation) and how it is usually going to be applied or interpreted, without consideration of the individual circumstances that might dictate how it would apply to any particular person.

A lawyer rendering "legal advice" or a "legal opinion" is giving you an assessment of how the law applies to the facts of your situation.

A "legal opinion" may also refer to a more formal type of legal advice that has certain legal effects. A government agency's lawyer may draft an opinion letter that binds the agency to implement the law in a manner consistent with the opinion, and taxpayers may be able to avoid penalties for improper payments if they do so in reliance on a formal opinion letter.


Are these terms defined in law somewhere?

It largely depends on the context. Even the legal definition of both terms is too narrow, and thus it fails to cover important areas of [case] law.

The definition of opinion in Black's Law Dictionary refers to the judges' justification for their decision of a case. That dictionary's definition of information centers on the context of accusations ("An accusation exhibited against a person for some criminal offense, without an indictment. [...] The word is also frequently used in the law in its sense of communicated knowledge.") (emphasis added).

But the term opinion as expression of an assessment is also habitual in professions requiring duly accredited qualifications or specialized knowledge. One example is the Statements of Actuarial Opinion. It is noteworthy that, although the term includes "opinion", the actuary's assessment ought or is supposed to be premised on information that meets the standards, body of knowledge, and techniques that are requisite toward the accreditation of those qualifications.

From another viewpoint, defamation law makes a distinction between statements of fact and statements of opinion (the former might seem closer to the notion of information but, again, that depends on the context in which the term is used). Statements of fact are assertions that refer more directly to, or describe, the entity or object of which it is being spoken. By contrast, a statement of opinion refers to the speaker's materially mental/subjective impression about the entity or object of which he speaks.

The disclaimer to which you refer seems to be the author's attempt to highlight the objectivity of his article.


The capital of the United States of America is Washington D.C. is a fact.

The capital of the United States of America is dysfunctionally mired in partisan politics is an opinion.

  • 2
    What is information?
    – user6726
    Jun 23, 2019 at 17:28

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