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 Revised Statutes -- Search
- Kentucky General Assembly's Legislative Research Commission
- Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission
- KET Live Coverage of General Assembly -- Archives (2010-2014)
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).
- Kentucky Court of Justice
- Administrative Office of the Courts -- AOC Forms Library
- Kentucky Supreme Court (Oral Arguments Calendar, Rules, Minutes, Statistics, etc.) -- Docket -- Opinions
- Kentucky Supreme Court Briefs Project (NKU Chase College of Law Library)
- Kentucky Rules of Court (Includes Supreme Court Rules, Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, Rules of Evidence)
- Kentucky Court of Appeals (Dockets, Oral Arguments Calendar, Rules, Minutes, Statistics, etc.) -- Opinions
- Directory of District and Circuit Judges -- Jefferson County District and Circuit Courts (Dockets, Motion Hours, Special Bailiff Procedures)
- Federal Courts
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).
- Kentucky Administrative Regulations -- Search
- Constitutional Officers
- Governor of Kentucky
- Secretary of State (business, trademark, election forms) -- Business Organization Search -- -- Elections
- Auditor of Public Accounts -- Audit reports
- -- Forms
- Executive Agencies
- Department of Revenue -- Tax Forms
- Labor Cabinet - Department of Workers Claims -- Workers Compensation Decisions (see Opinions in bottom right corner)
- Department of Corrections -- Kentucky Offender Online Lookup (KOOL) -- Sex/Criminal Offender Registry -- Victim Information Notification Everyday (V.I.N.E.) -- Kentucky Corrections Statistics - Probation & Parole Districts and Officers
- Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
- Kentucky Personnel Cabinet
- Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
- Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy
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.
- American Legal Publishing's
- Municode's Codes of Ordinances for Kentucky