Kentucky Court Records
Where to Find Kentucky Civil Court Records
Every civil case handled by the Kentucky Civil Courts has a record. These records are referred to as civil court records and are documents that contain the pleadings, dockets, motions, complaints, final judgments, and other related information of the civil cases. In Kentucky, the District, Family, and Circuit courts have jurisdiction over civil cases. The civil courts are responsible for maintaining these records and providing access to interested parties. Members of the public may inspect or obtain court records by request to the presiding courts. Also, third-party sites like Kentucky.CourtRecords.Org make these records accessible to the public.
Are Kentucky Civil Court Records Public?
Yes, Kentucky civil court records are available to the public under the Kentucky Open Records Act. Anyone can request to view or obtain an open civil court record from the court where the civil case was tried or handled. However, the law exempts certain records from public inspection. These records include:
- Adoption records
- Autopsy records
- Mental health and illness records
- Medical and treatment records
- Substance abuse records
- Disability records
- Juvenile records
- Parole information
- Exhibits from child pornography cases
- Paternity records
- Jury records
Types of Cases in Kentucky Civil Courts
The Kentucky District and Circuit Courts handle civil disputes and cases filed within the state. The District Court has limited jurisdiction and can only hear civil cases up to $5,000 in controversy or less. The Circuit Court, on the other hand, has general jurisdiction and hears civil cases $5,000 and higher, including appeals from the District Court. Family and domestic matters are handled by the Family Court, a division of the Circuit Court with original jurisdiction over such matters. The following are the different types of cases handled by these courts:
- Child custody and visitations
- Spousal and child support
- Contract disagreements
- Medical malpractice
- Dependency, neglect, and abuse
- Property/land disputes
- Workplace accidents
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Personal injury claims
- Traffic offenses
- Small claims
- City complaints
- Class action claims
- Tort claims
- Employee discriminations
- Employee/employer disputes
- Consumer complaints
What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Kentucky?
All cases heard in the Kentucky Courts are grouped into two categories: criminal and civil. Civil cases are non-violent disputes between individuals and businesses. These cases are mostly resolved by monetary or equitable settlements, whether by the court or out-of-court by mediation. In civil cases, the wronged parties bring the suit and are responsible for proving that the acclaimed damages occurred. In criminal cases, the government brings the action against an individual or corporation and is responsible for proving beyond a reasonable doubt that state/federal criminal laws were broken. A party charged with a crime is liable to be punished under these laws. Usually, this punishment involves a term of imprisonment or a fine.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records In Kentucky?
Interested parties may obtain Kentucky civil court records from the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in the county where the case was filed. To obtain physical copies, a party may visit the appropriate division of the Circuit Court within its hours of operation to request. It is advisable to have information on the record such as the name of the subject of the record, the case type, case/docket number, and filing date as this helps with identifying the record. As each court has its local rules, the Clerk of Court may be contacted beforehand to ascertain the court's procedures for viewing or copying records. This may include payment methods, copy fees, business hours, methods of application, availability of online services, and if proof of identification is required from the requester. Parties may also search for civil court records electronically using public access computers provided at the Clerk of Circuit Court offices. Inactive or closed cases that are not in the office may be requested from the Kentucky State Archives.
How Do I Find Kentucky Civil Court Records Online?
Kentucky civil court records are available online through the CourtNet. This tool is maintained by the Kentucky Court of Justice and Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Interested parties may search for civil court records through this website. New users may either create an account to use the service or search as a guest. Court records can be searched by case, citation, or party/business. Circuit and District Court dockets may be obtained on the Docket Information site or the official websites of the individual courts.
What Is Included In a Kentucky Civil Court Record?
Typically, a Kentucky civil court record includes the following details:
- Pleadings such as complaints, answers, and motions
- Names and other information of parties involved in a case
- Orders of notices
- Settlements and agreements
- Rights and privileges ordered by the court
How to Access Kentucky Civil Court Records For Free
Kentucky civil court records may be accessed for free at public terminals located at the applicable Clerk of Circuit Court's office. It is also possible to search for civil court records from the Circuit and District courts through CourtNet at no charge. However, if the request involves copying the record, the office charges a fee to copy these records according to the Kentucky Circuit Clerks' Accounting Manual.
How to Seal Civil Court Records in Kentucky
In Kentucky, when a civil court record is sealed, it is restricted from public access. These records are considered confidential and are available only to approved parties or parties with valid court orders. Some records are automatically sealed by statute while others require a petition to be filed with the presiding court. A court may seal a record for safety/privacy reasons or if the petitioning party's interest outweighs that of the public. Kentucky statutes also permit the expungement of certain civil cases such as disability proceedings, involuntary hospitalization, involuntary admission, and domestic violence/interpersonal protective orders. However, an order to expunge a civil court record can be likened as one to seal it because the state has no true expungement civil laws. Also, while the parties involved in the civil case can legally claim that the record does not exist, these records are still available in secure locations and can be reopened or inspected upon petition.
How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Kentucky
Generally, parties who may access sealed civil court records in Kentucky include the registrant, parents/legal guardians, immediate family, attorneys, approved agencies, authorized court personnel, and other parties permitted by court order. However, this access may vary by the type of civil case. Eligible parties may contact the presiding court for information on accessing these records.