Office of Law

The Office of Law provides legal representation and advice to Howard County and its offices, departments, boards, commissions, and other agencies in an expeditious and professional manner.  Pursuant to the Howard County Charter, the Office of Law does not advise or represent private citizens. 

Office of Law

The County Solicitor is nominated by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council.

The Deputy County Solicitor is appointed by the County Solicitor. The County Solicitor appoints and supervises the Assistants to the County Solicitor and support staff.

Services provided by the Office of Law include:

  • providing legal advice to the Executive, the Council, and all County agencies, offices, boards, and Commissions
  • representing the County and its agencies, officials and employees in all civil litigation matters, including code and regulatory enforcement
  • representing the Maryland Department of Social Services in Children in Need of Assistance cases, Termination of Parental Rights cases, and Adult Guardianship cases
  • reviewing County legislation
  • reviewing and drafting contracts
  • handling real estate transactions
  • collecting overdue taxes, fines and fees

Notification Regarding CB63-2020:

Subtitle 21, Sections 12.2100—12.2109, pertaining to the rights of non-U.S. citizens, is suspended, as per Section 211 of the Howard County Charter. Council Bill 63-2020, from which this Subtitle 21 derives, has been petitioned to referendum by the voters of Howard County and will appear on the November 2022 ballot. Charter Section 211 provides that the law or part thereof to be referred shall not take effect until 30 days after its approval by a majority of the qualified voters of the County voting thereon at the next ensuing election.

Notification Regarding CB9-2020:

CB9-2020, adopted June 2, 2020, was "declared to be an illegal special law" by order of the Circuit Court for Howard County on Dec. 3, 2020, in McClain v. Howard County, Maryland, et al., Case No. C-13-CV-20-000647.  An appeal of the circuit court’s order was filed on December 14, 2020, and remains pending as of May 7, 2021. Subsections D, F.2, and N.48 of Section 131.0, amended by CB-9 and pertaining to conditional uses for private academic schools, is not enforceable while the circuit court’s order is on appeal.

Notice Regarding Ord Bank Feature for Municode

The online version of the County Code and the County Zoning Regulations now includes a new feature called “Ord Bank”.  The “Ord Bank” feature includes recently enacted ordinances that have been uploaded to the publisher but not yet codified. 

After enacted bills are uploaded to the publisher, there is a delay between the upload and the publisher incorporating them into the online codes and paper supplements for printed codes.  During these intervening periods, you can now find the enacted bill in "Ord Bank" for the online County Code and County Zoning Regulations.

Direct links for the new “Ord Bank” features:

| Code of Ordinances | Howard County, MD | Municode Library

| Zoning | Howard County, MD | Municode Library

 

The Howard County Ethics Commission

The Howard County Ethics Commission consists of 5 members who are appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. The Commission is responsible for administering the Howard County Public Ethics Law with respect to all public officials, officers and employees. Some of the Commission's major functions include rendering advisory opinions, receiving and reviewing financial disclosure statements, investigating complaints, and receiving and reviewing lobbyist registration and activity reports. The Commission meets on an as-needed basis in both open and closed session. For more information, visit the Ethics Commission's webpage here.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Where can I find Howard County laws?
Content

Howard County Code

The Howard County Code and Charter are published by Municipal Code Corporation. In addition, each branch of the Howard County Library has a copy of the Howard County Code.

County Legislation

Legislation being considered by the Howard County Council is available through the County website.

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Where can I find information on cases in the Circuit Court or District Court of Maryland for Howard County?
Content

Circuit Court

Howard County Circuit Court
8360 Court Avenue
Ellicott City, MD 21043 

 

The following Circuit Court functions are located at: 

Dorsey Building
9250 Bendix Road
Columbia, MD
410-313-5850

     • Marriage licenses
     • Business licenses
     • Land Records
     • Military discharges
     • Notary Public services


District Court

The District Court has jurisdiction over traffic, some criminal cases and small claims. The District Court Commissioner will facilitate the posting of bonds and signing of release papers.

Howard County District Court
3451 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-480-7700

District Court Commissioner
3451 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-480-7720

Southern District Commissioner
11226 Scaggsville Road
Laurel, MD 20723
410-313-4740 

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Who do I contact at the Howard County Board of Education to file a Claim?
Content

The Howard County Board of Education is a separate entity from Howard County, Maryland. 

Contact the Board directly at 410-313-6600 or 410-313-1270.

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Where can I complain about faulty consumer products or services?
Content

Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs

6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
410-313-6420


Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office

200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
1-888-743-0023

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Where can I file complaints or ask questions about a home improvement contractor?
Content

Maryland Home Improvement Commission

500 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651

1-888-218-5925

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Department / Office

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