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Office of the City Attorney

Role of the City Attorney

City Attorney Mara W. Elliott has three distinct roles under the City Charter:

  • Advisory - Her Office provides advice to the City and each of its departments, including the City Council and Mayor.
  • Civil Litigation - She prosecutes or defends, as the case may be, civil lawsuits in which the City is a party.
  • Criminal Prosecution - She prosecutes criminal misdemeanors and infractions committed within her jurisdiction.

Learn more about the City Attorney’s legal authority: Section 40 and 40.1 of the City Charter (PDF)

"The City Attorney shall be the chief legal adviser of, and attorney for the City and all Departments and offices thereof in matters relating to their official powers and duties... It shall be the City Attorney's duty, either personally or by such assistants as he or she may designate, to perform all services incident to the legal department; to give advice in writing when so requested, to the Council, its Committees, the Manager, the Commissions, or Directors of any department [and] to prosecute or defend, as the case may be, all suits or cases to which the City may be a party..."

"The City Attorney shall...prosecute persons charged with or guilty of the violations of the state laws occurring within the city limits of The City of San Diego for offenses constituting misdemeanors."