Kentucky’s "first of a kind" legal help center operating in Fayette County.
Representatives from Kentucky’s judiciary ranging from the State Supreme Court to district courts participated in the dedication ceremony for the Fayette County Legal Help Center. It’s located in the basement of the Fayette County Circuit Court building. State Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller chairs the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission. Keller said this center could in-directly help deal with a backlog of cases.
“It really has taken so much time and resources from our judiciary, from our clerks that try to help these folks access the courtroom and I think this is a step in help lifting that burden and making us a more efficient court of justice,” said Keller.
The legal help center in Lexington is the first of its kind and is open each Thursday from 11:00 to 2:00. It offers self-guided interviews through a computer program. Keller noted these computerized self-guided interviews can assist those who can’t afford or haven’t secured a lawyer to represent them in court.
“In the criminal setting, due process requires us to provide attorneys when someone’s liberty is at stake. There’s no such corollary in the civil justice world,” said Keller.
Inside the center, patrons answer a series of online questions. Once completed, the program generates the required court documents. Guided interviews are available on a number of topics including divorce, child support, small claims, and petition for expungement. Justice Keller anticipates other legal help centers to be established across Kentucky including her home area in northern Kentucky.