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Kentucky Legal Research Guide

Kentucky Courts

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Kentucky Courts

Kentucky Court Structure

The Constitution of Kentucky separates the state government into three branches, each with distinct areas of responsibility — the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

The primary function of the judicial branch is to fairly and impartially settle disputes according to the law. To do this, a number of courts have been established in the state by the Constitution and by acts of the Kentucky Legislature.

Kentucky has a "unified court system" for operation and administration which is referred to as the Kentucky Court of Justice.  The courts are divided into the Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, a trial court of general jurisdiction know as the Circuit Court and a trial court of limited jurisdiction known as the District Court.  The Family Court now covers 71 counties in Kentucky and hears family matters that were traditionally heard in Circuit Court or in District Court.

For more information about the Judicial System Structure in Kentucky, click here


Citation Rules

Kentucky Citation
For documents submitted to the Kentucky courts, you should follow the citation rules found in the Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure.  Go to Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure - Title lX Appeals.

Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 76.12 (4)(g) Form of Citations.
The citation of Kentucky cases is in line with the Bluebook style and case names may be italized or underlined. 
For Example:  Haney v. Butler, 990 S.W.2d 611 (Ky. 1999) and Owens v. Williams, 995 S.W.2d 196 (Ky. App. 1997).

Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 76.28 (4)(c)
Rule for citing unreported appellate decisions.
Opinions that are not to be published shall not be cited or used as binding precedent in any other case in any court of this state; however, unpublished Kentucky appellate decisions, rendered after January 1, 2003, may be cited for consideration by the court if there is no published opinion that would adequately address the issue before the court. Opinions cited for consideration by the court shall be set out as an unpublished decision in the filed document and a copy of the entire decision shall be tendered along with the document to the court and all parties to the action.

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