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.
Over the past decade, the KAJC has worked 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, the Kentucky Bar Association, the private bar, law schools, and business and community organizations.
The KAJC’s goals are to:
- Identify and assess current and future needs of low- and moderate-income Kentuckians in matters related to access to civil justice.
- Create a framework for equitable access to justice by promoting policies, procedures, court rules and legislation that remove barriers to our judicial system.
- Increase resources and funding for access to justice in civil legal matters.
- Promote principled and efficient use of available resources and encourage the coordination and sharing of resources or funding.
- Develop and implement initiatives to increase access to the courts and meaningful use of the judicial process, such as creative pro bono opportunities, strategic uses of technology and enhanced community education.
- Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the statewide justice systems and services and periodically report the findings to interested parties in Kentucky.
During its early years, the KAJC was chaired by Franklin Circuit Judge Roger L. Crittenden (ret.) In 2017, Chief Justice Minton named Supreme Court Justice Michelle M. Keller as chair.
In 2017, the KBA provided a generous grant that allowed the KAJC to hire full-time staff and the Supreme Court provided office space on the second floor of the Capitol. Executive Director Glenda Harrison worked for more than 40 years with the Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, most recently as its advocacy director. Communications/Training Coordinator Nan Hanley has more than 20 years of experience with the Kentucky Access to Justice Foundation, a statewide resource center for civil legal aid programs.
And in 2019, Kentucky became one of 11 states to receive a Justice for All planning grant from the National Center for State Courts. The grant has allowed the KAJC to develop a strategic plan with the goal of giving all Kentuckians access to justice for their essential civil legal needs.
As part of its strategic plan, the KAJC is currently working to:
- Identify and remove barriers impeding access to the courts.
- Increase opportunities for the private bar to provide pro bono representation for low- and moderate-income Kentuckians
- Expand the delivery and support of Kentucky's civil legal aid programs.
- Increase public awareness of civil legal aid and the justice system and their positive impact on the state and local communities.
- Partner with other service providers to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the statewide delivery system.