Kentucky Law Links

For more about researching Kentucky law, see the Law Library's Kentucky law guide.

Statutes and the Legislature

Many legal questions are best answered by turning to the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS), Kentucky's statutory code. Often the answer to a particular legal question will be found in the statutes, not in case law. Every year the Kentucky General Assembly meets and proposes bills (Prior to 2001 the legislature met every other year). If the bills pass they become law. These laws are passed in chronological, not topical, order and published in the Kentucky Acts. However, in order to make researching the statutes more reliable and efficient, the laws are arranged by subject into a statutory code, the Kentucky Revised Statutes. The body charged with this task is the General Assembly's all-purpose agency, the Legislative Research Commission, the entity that also maintains the legislature's website and prints all its publications.



Kentucky is a common law jurisdiction. Under the common law system, past cases are used as precedent by judges in deciding current disputes. Thus it is important to know how courts in the past have interpreted various legal situations. Kentucky has a three tiered court system. The District and Circuit Courts are the trial courts. Generally, the findings of fact they make cannot be appealed but any disputed rulings on matters of law can be. Kentucky has two appellate courts: the Court of Appeals, which (generally) hears appeals first, and Supreme Court, the highest court. (Prior to 1976 the Court of Appeals was the highest court in Kentucky).


Administrative Regulations and Agencies

The legislature often passes broad based legislation that establishes a regulatory scheme. The nuts and bolts of the scheme will often not appear in the KRS. It is left to Kentucky's administrative agencies to flesh out these laws and carry out the will of the legislature. The agencies do this by promulgating regulations. Regulations have the same force and effect as any law passed by the legislature. Kentucky administrative regulations can be found in the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR).


City and County Ordinances

The state of Kentucky devolves some powers to its counties and municipalities to make local laws affecting matters like zoning, noise pollution, fire safety, etc. See Kentucky Municipal Statutory Law (Kentucky Legislation Research Commission, 2014), County Government in Kentucky (Kentucky Legislation Research Commission, 2015)
and Duties Of Elected County Officials (Kentucky Legislation Research Commission, 2014) for more information.



    Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library

    University of Louisville

    2301 South Third Street

    Louisville, Kentucky 40208

    Google Map

    Regular Hours

    Mon-Thur. 8am - 6pm (6pm - 9pm law student hours)

    Fri. 8am - 6pm

    Sat. 9am - 6pm

    Sun. (1pm - 9pm law student hours)


    tel 502.852.0729

    fax 502.852.8906

    Social Media

    Law Library Facebook pageLaw Library Twitter feedUofL Law Library Instagram