Can we add a close reason that conveys the idea "This question should be asked of a legal professional."?

Perhaps set up as:

This question is asking for legal advice. Questions about the law are welcome, but questions asking for legal advice need to discussed with a legal professional.

We would need to add corresponding information to the tour so that notice is given that this is a reason for questions to be closed.

My hope is that this would address concerns about unlicensed practice of law issues.

  • 2
    I propose a rephrase (not sure what to yet), because it's not just that it needs to be discussed with a legal professional (hopefully, we'll ultimately have at least a few of those). The issue is that even a lawyer on this site isn't your lawyer, and isn't necessarily licensed in your jurisdiction.
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 23:36
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    I think we need to figure out an overall policy on this issue before we go adding close reasons like that. It is far from clear to me that a blanket ban on "legal advice" (as understood by the layman) is necessary or appropriate.
    – BrenBarn
    Jun 12, 2015 at 6:57

3 Answers 3


This is tricky - what is the criteria for something that should be asked of lawyers? Lots of statute or case law questions could be asked by unqualified but experienced law students, paralegals, etc, but would almost certainly be better handled by a lawyer in the field: what of these questions?

I'm not against this, because I certainly would be in favour of anything that may reduce UPL or malpractice claims, but to avoid discouraging people from participating the criteria should be transparent and consistent.

  • I don't know exactly what the criteria are either. Hopefully through discussion on this issue we can start to identity some criteria. Jun 11, 2015 at 4:48
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    There is no set line between something you ask a friend vs asking your lawyer. The only difference is your actions based on the resulting reply. There could never be a set list of what should only be asked to a lawyer and what should not.
    – mepatuhoo
    Jun 15, 2015 at 21:41

Which country or state's definition should be favoured? It is impossible to know the location of the parties. Laws vary too greatly to decide what is considered legal advice with any accuracy.

  • So far the site has been pretty good about getting location/jurisdiction attached to the questions. Jun 13, 2015 at 5:52

I'd encourage us to use a disclaimer similar to Judaism.SE. They face the same issue of 'religious legal' questions, where consulting an authority is always recommended.... But the community will help as much as possible. Those who answer questions self-select restraint when they feel an answer would lead to risk for those reading.... e.g.

The answer begets several more questions, where without an answer for each there is significant risk in taking action.

This is all handled in a disclaimer when joining, and in the FAQ.

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