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
Office of Law

County Solicitor

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.


Notice (November 21, 2022):

Based on the certification of the vote on Question A by the Howard County Board of Elections, subtitle 21 of title 12 of the Howard County Code (Council Bill No. 63-2020) was approved at the Gubernatorial General Election held November 8, 2022. Accordingly, the subtitle is effective as of December 8, 2022, pursuant to section 211 of the Howard County Charter.

Notice (November 3, 2022):

Guidance issued by the Maryland Attorney General seeks to inform Maryland voters about activities that are permitted versus prohibited at or near polling places, so that they know the difference and can safely exercise their right to vote.  Access the guidance here: GUIDANCE_ON_VOTER_INTIMIDATION.pdf (maryland.gov).

Notice (August 9, 2022):

The certification of the ballot question to the Maryland State Board of Elections for the referendum on Howard County Council Bill No. 63-2020 may be found here. In due course, the State Board of Elections will post all State and local questions under the General Election Ballot Questions section of the Elections page on its web site, which may be found here: https://elections.maryland.gov/elections/2022/index.html.


On September 27, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that portions of the County’s Rental Protection and Stability Act, Howard County Code Section 17.1200 (the "Act"), violate the Maryland Constitution and the Maryland Declaration of Rights and are, therefore, invalid as applied in certain instances. The Act prohibits certain landlords and mobile home park owners from taking certain actions during the State of Emergency declared by the Governor of Maryland on March 5, 2020 and for three months after the end of that state of emergency. See Willowbrook Apartment Associates, LLC, et al. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, et al., Case No. 20-cv-01818-SAG. The Court has ruled that the Act applies prospectively only. The Act cannot be applied to rent increases agreed to prior to the effective date of the Act, which was May 23, 2020. The Maryland State of Emergency ended on August 15, 2021 and, except as provided therein as to payment plans, the Act ceases to be in effect after November 16, 2021.

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


Where can I find Howard County laws?


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.


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


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

     • 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

District Court Commissioner
3451 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043

Southern District Commissioner
11226 Scaggsville Road
Laurel, MD 20723


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


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.


Where can I complain about faulty consumer products or services?


Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs

6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office

200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202


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


Maryland Home Improvement Commission

500 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651


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