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Certification Process

Filing a Certification Request

  • A state’s request for certification of its capital counsel mechanism must be submitted to the Office of Legal Policy. The Department may ask an applicant state to submit additional materials in support of its certification request.

  • The applicant state’s request and any included or additional supporting materials provided by the state with its application will be made publicly available on this website.

  • The Department will publish a Federal Register Notice that will: 

    • advise that the state has requested certification

    • identify the website where the public may view the State’s application; and

    • solicit public comment on the request for certification and initiate a 60-day public comment period.

Review of a Certification Request

  • Each request, including any supplemental information, will be reviewed, along with any public comments, in accordance with Chapter 154 and the implementing regulations.

  • The Office of Legal Policy will prepare a recommendation for the Attorney General’s final decision on a state’s request, and will consult with other relevant components of the Department of Justice, per the Attorney General’s August 22, 2017 Memorandum

Decision on Certification

  • The Attorney General makes the decision whether to certify a state’s capital counsel mechanism.

  • If the Attorney General issues a decision in favor of certification, the Office of Legal Policy (“OLP”) will publish a certification notice in the Federal Register.

  • If the Attorney General issues a decision denying certification, the Attorney General will so inform the state by letter.

  • Grants and denials of certification will be publicly available on the Department’s website.


  • A certification remains effective for five years after the completion of the certification process and any related judicial review.

  • If a state requests re-certification at or before the end of that five-year period, the certification remains effective for an additional period extending until the completion of the re-certification process by the Attorney General and any related judicial review.  28 C.F.R. § 26.23(e).

  • Re-certification requests will be reviewed under the same procedures and standards as initial requests for certification. 

Updated November 18, 2022