Kentucky Chief Justice News Conference: Announcing new Kentucky Access to Justice Commission

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Chief Justice Minton will hold a press conference to announce creation of new
Kentucky Access to Justice Commission

Kentucky will join the nearly two dozen states where supreme courts have formed Access to Justice Commissions to engage the judiciary in delivering civil legal aid to low-income citizens.

Chief Justice Minton will announce the creation of the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission. KAJC's goal is to provide equal access to civil justice for low-income citizens through an ongoing partnership between the judiciary and the state and local bar associations, legal aid providers, law schools, elected officials and other community leaders. The KAJC will be formed by an order of the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

In Kentucky the need for legal aid is great. In 2009, legal aid served 18,500 people statewide. Approximately 55 percent of the people who apply and are eligible for legal aid services are turned away because of lack of resources. From 2008 to 2009, nearly 60,000 Kentuckians fell below the poverty line and that number continues to increase. Nationally, 20 percent of all Americans live below 125 percent of the federal poverty level and are therefore eligible for help from legal aid programs funded by the National Legal Services Corporation.

Access to Justice Commissions are supported by the American Bar Association and the national Conference of Chief Justices. Their success largely depends on judicial involvement at all levels.

Chief Justice Minton is currently appointing the members of the commission in preparation for the KAJC's first meeting on Jan. 28, 2011. Chief Justice Minton will be joined at the news conference by Justice Bill Cunningham, the Supreme Court of Kentucky liaison on the commission, and Judge Roger L. Crittenden (ret.), chair of the commission.