The Administrative Office of the Courts is the fiscal agent of the Kentucky Court of Justice. All fiscal and administrative functions to support the operation of the courts are performed centrally by AOC staff.
The Office of Finance & Administration administers the Judicial Branch budget and carries out the policy-making functions of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The office also oversees the accounting, procurement, contracting, contract management, grants, property accountability, capital construction, real property and court security functions of the state court system, also called the Kentucky Court of Justice.
These functions are carried out by the Departments of Budget, Financial Services and Court Facilities, and the Policy Unit.
Department of Budget
The Department of Budget prepares and executes the annual operating budget, which involves preparing the Judicial Branch Biennial Budget Request and Budget Recommendation for submission to the Kentucky General Assembly. The department also analyzes the fiscal impact of legislation and manages all grant functions for the state court system.
The Judicial Branch is funded by appropriations from the General Assembly and its budget represents approximately 3.4% of the total state general funds each biennium. The budget pays for all expenses of the Kentucky Court of Justice, including salaries, court facilities, court technology, office supplies and equipment.
The Judicial Branch employs approximately 10% of the state’s workforce and 87% of its budget funds personnel costs for 406 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks and nearly 3,300 employees. The Judicial Branch is currently operating under House Bill 244, its budget appropriation for Fiscal Biennium 2022-2024.
The court system deposits all funds it collects from filing fees and court costs into the state treasury for general fund disbursement. The only exceptions are the law library fee, the county jail fee and the sheriff security fee, which are distributed at the local level, and third-party money.
The Policy Unit oversees policy development for the AOC using a framework that includes policies, Rules of Administrative Procedure and standards. The Policy Unit also develops departmental policies, processes and standard operating procedures for the Office of Finance & Administration.
Policies. The AOC Director’s Office adopts policies that comprise a set of rules, principles and requirements. Policies are mandatory and apply to all AOC personnel statewide and/or to the AOC’s central office in Frankfort. AOC policies do not apply to KCOJ elected officials and their employees.
Rules of Administrative Procedure. The Supreme Court of Kentucky adopts Rules of Administrative Procedure that apply to all KCOJ elected officials and court employees statewide, including AOC staff.
Standards. When authorized by the Rules of Administrative Procedure and approved by the AOC Director’s Office, AOC departments develop a set of objective requirements that provide direction to or establish criteria that apply to all KCOJ elected officials and court employees statewide.