FRANKFORT, Ky., July 6, 2022 – The public now has access to free legal information for those who want to handle certain legal matters on their own. The Fayette County Legal Help Center, the first of its kind in Kentucky, opened in March in the Robert F. Stephens Circuit Courthouse at 120 N. Limestone in Lexington. The center is in the Law Library in Room CB02A on the lower level.
The Legal Help Center offers information on a variety of legal topics, including divorce, expungement, child support and simple probate matters.
The Kentucky Access to Justice Commission launched the Legal Help Center in partnership with the Fayette County Office of Circuit Court Clerk, Fayette County Family Court judges, the Fayette County Law Library trustees, the Administrative Office of the Courts and Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. The Fayette County Bar Foundation provided funding to purchase computers and a printer for the center.
The Legal Help Center will celebrate its official opening with a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, July 12, at 11 a.m. ET. The public and media are invited to the event, which will take place in the Multipurpose Room on the first floor of the Robert F. Stephens Circuit Courthouse. Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. and Supreme Court Justices Michelle M. Keller and Laurance B. VanMeter will be on hand for the event.
“We look forward to celebrating the opening of this Legal Help Center, which will assist those who must try to navigate the justice system without counsel,” said Justice Keller, who chairs the KAJC. “As important, we will also celebrate the idea of partnership, which made this center a reality. Access to justice cannot be accomplished by one person or one organization or one Legal Help Center, but when we come together our collective efforts can move the arc of society toward justice for all.”
How Legal Help Center Works
The Legal Help Center is staffed with KAJC staff and volunteers from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET each Thursday. While volunteers do not provide legal advice, they do offer legal information, which includes helping patrons locate and fill in the correct legal forms on a variety of topics.
Many of the forms that patrons need can be completed through guided interviews. The guided interviews are user-friendly, with the patron simply answering a series of questions. Once the interview is complete, the program generates the required court documents. Guided interviews are available on these matters:
- Dissolution of marriage (no minor children)
- Motion to modify child support
- Petition for order of protection
- Small claims court complaint
- Petition for probate
- Petition for expungement (for misdemeanor, violation or traffic infraction conviction)
- Motion for waiver of court costs and fees
“We’re excited about the success of this pilot project,” KAJC Executive Director Glenda Harrison said. “Since it opened in March, the Fayette County Legal Help Center has helped over 100 patrons gain access to the courts. With an increase in self-represented litigants – people handling their own legal matters – KAJC will be looking at how we can expand this service in some form to different areas of the state.”
Want to Volunteer?
The Legal Help Center is seeking attorneys and law students to volunteer during the center’s hours of operation. Volunteers will be given an orientation on how the center operates and the scope of services provided. For more information, contact Glenda Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another Legal Resource: kyjustice.org
KAJC and Kentucky's four civil legal aid programs launched another self-help legal resource in March when the revised website, kyjustice.org, went live. The site provides information on various civil legal topics, including family law matters, criminal expungement, housing and consumer issues. It also offers answers to common legal questions, a tool that screens for legal aid eligibility, and an interactive county-by-county resource map.
About the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission
The Kentucky Access to Justice Commission was established in 2010 by Supreme Court order to make access to justice a priority for the Judicial Branch. The KAJC works to increase access to the courts and legal representation for people of low and moderate income through innovative partnerships with Kentucky’s civil legal aid programs, the judiciary, court officials, the Kentucky Bar Association, the private bar, law schools, trained non-lawyers, businesses, and community and faith-based organizations.
About the Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort is the operations arm of the state court system. The AOC supports the activities of nearly 3,400 court system employees and 406 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The AOC is the fiscal agent for the state court system and executes the Judicial Branch budget.