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What are Kentucky Civil Court Records?
Kentucky Civil Court records are official documents describing the initiation, hearing, and conclusion of civil lawsuits in Kentucky state courts. These records include case files containing witness and evidence lists, jury information, and judgments as well as video and audio transcripts of proceedings. The records of Kentucky Civil Courts also include dockets, calendars, orders, motions, statements, and affidavits.
Understanding the Kentucky Civil Court Structure
In Kentucky, civil cases are heard in District and Circuit Courts. Both are trial courts of general jurisdiction. The Kentucky Judicial Branch recognizes the Circuit Court as higher in the court hierarchy. The Circuit Court handles civil suits with claims above $5,000. The District Court tries civil cases with claims below $5,000 as well as small claims cases involving $2,500 or less. Appeals of civil cases tried in District and Circuit Courts go to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
How Do I File Civil Court Records in Kentucky?
Kentucky is quickly moving away from filing paper records to filing electronic copies of those records. The Supreme Court of Kentucky established eFiling Rules governing the procedures for filing state court records.
Who Can File Civil Court Records in Kentucky?
Before submitting a court document for eFiling in Kentucky, the individual must be approved as an eFiler. They must register with a Circuit Court Clerk and receive notification of their acceptance. Individuals approved to use Kentucky’s eFiling platform include:
- Judges and their staff
- Registered attorneys in good standing with the State Bar Association
- Court administrative staff
- Individuals representing themselves in court
Select law enforcement agents and government employees whose duties including filing court documents
Those successfully registered as eFilers may be required to attend training with using the system. Convert documents to PDF files before uploading and filing them to the state’s electronic database. Kentucky District and Circuit Courts offer electronic case filing on request. After filing a document in this way, parties registered in the case will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by email.
Kentucky law requires Circuit Court Clerks to print paper copies of electronically filed records. The law regards the paper copies as official court records.
How Do I Find Civil Court Records in Kentucky?
The public can access records of civil cases tried in Kentucky Circuit and District Courts:
- Online from the website of the Kentucky Court of Justice
- In person at Circuit Court Clerk’s Offices
To view civil case dockets online, visit the CourtNet portal hosted on the website of the Kentucky Court of Justice. You can search the database as a guest or register as a user. Select Civil from the Case Category menu and choose a Kentucky county to restrict the search to a municipality in the Commonwealth. The search tool provided on the website allows members of the public to search for court records by case number, party name, and citation number.
The Kentucky Judicial Branch only provides limited access to court records online. To view detailed case information, request access in person at the Clerk's Office. Circuit Court Clerks maintain the records of District and Circuit Courts in Kentucky. Find the address and contact information of a Kentucky Circuit Clerk’s Office by searching the Judicial Directory.
Each Circuit Clerk’s Office has public access computer terminals for accessing court records. If you cannot find the civil court records you want using these terminals, contact the staff of the Clerk’s Office to gain access to archived records. They can also provide paper copies of current and archived civil case files.
Publicly available records are also accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific record or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Are Kentucky Civil Court Records Available to the Public?
Yes. Kentucky makes all Civil Court proceedings open to the public except for those sealed by court orders or state/federal statutes. These include trial and post-trial proceedings. Pre-trial proceedings are not available to the public by default. However, most counties require deposition proceedings filed with the Clerk’s Offices and this makes them public records.
The records of appealed civil cases are also presumptively open to the public. Records of settlements reached in civil suits are also in the public domain. Similarly, Kentucky Civil Court dockets are public records and available at Clerk’s Offices in paper and digital copies. The CourtNet 2.0 portal provides limited access to civil dockets.
Kentucky keeps certain Civil Court records confidential. For example, the proceedings and records of grand juries are sealed. Also, the court may seal all or parts of records of proceedings involving minors.
How Do I Obtain Copies of Civil Court Records in Kentucky?
Civil case records in Kentucky are available from the Offices of Circuit Court Clerks. Find the address and phone number of any Kentucky Clerk’s Office using this directory. To request copies of these records, visit or call the Clerk’s Office in the county where the civil lawsuit was filed. To search their records, the Clerk may ask for information such as case number, parties involved in the case, and when it was filed.
Kentucky Clerk’s Offices charge for copies of Civil Court records requested. They accept payments in cash, checks, and money order. Ask for the current fee for these copies as well as how to submit a request. Typically, Kentucky Circuit Clerk’s Offices accept requests for court records made in person and by mail. If you opt to submit an in-person request, ask for the office’s business hours. Before sending a mail request, make sure to find the specific address used by the court records section of the Clerk’s Office. Check the county’s or Circuit Clerk’s website to find information about the mailing address and documents required to be enclosed with mail requests.