An opinion generally denotes an individual person's considered judgment or personal view regarding any matter under discussion. Citizens of countries invariably have opinions about their own governments, about international affairs, and about the customs and cultures of other peoples, nations and religions. People frequently express their opinions about events related in news media regarding what has happened or what should be done, especially in politics and sports, and about what they believe is right or wrong.
A legal opinion in jurisprudence is a judge's written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because of the reasoning and/or the principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment. A per curiam opinion is an unsigned opinion "of the court."
A medical opinion is a judgment based on examination of the patient, diagnosis of the cause and recommendations for treatment of the patient's condition, and the prognosis of the outcome of the case, with or without treatment as options to be considered. When the situation is serious, and strong measures are indicated such as surgery or chemical intervention attended by a degree of significant risk to the wellbeing of the patient, prudent judgment on the part of the patient and/or the patient's family demands a competent "second opinion" to verify or dismiss the first opinion as justified or unjustified. When deemed necessary, a panel or qualified group of competent medical practitioners consult together to seek a consensus and present their tentative or final opinion of what should or should not be done. The best interests of the patient are not always considered as of paramount importance, but rather what are the interests of the family or the perceived benefit to certain special interest groups or to the whole of society at large instead.
- See, for example, the famous controversial case of Terri Schiavo.
See Scientific consensus.