Note: Please see below for photos.
FRANKFORT, Ky., Sept. 6, 2018 – Citizens representing themselves in small claims cases in Fayette, Hardin and Kenton counties may now skip trips to the courthouse to file documents and instead file them electronically. The Administrative Office of the Courts recently began offering eFiling for self-represented litigants in small claims cases in the three counties, with plans to take the program statewide this year.
This is the first time the state court system’s eFiling program has been open to the public.
“This is an important milestone for our eFiling program,” AOC Director Laurie K. Dudgeon said. “People representing themselves in small claims cases will get to experience the convenience of being able to file court documents electronically. Most people represent themselves in small claims instead of using an attorney so accepting electronic filings in these cases is the logical first step in expanding the use of eFiling to all case types for the public.”
The AOC completed its statewide rollout of eFiling for attorneys in 2015.
EFilings are received by Offices of Circuit Court Clerk, which maintain records for Circuit Court and District Court and operate in all 120 Kentucky counties. The circuit clerks for Fayette, Hardin and Kenton counties said they’re excited for their offices to serve as the pilot sites for the latest eFiling offering.
“It’s a huge leap to bring eFiling to non-attorneys,” Kenton County Circuit Court Clerk John C. Middleton said. “Allowing self-represented litigants to eFile is an important component of eFiling. This also moves the court system closer to a fully integrated electronic record. When completed, we will be able to see the time and cost savings of having a complete electronic record.”
Fayette County Circuit Court Clerk Vincent Riggs said, “As a former legal aid attorney, I am well aware of how important access to the court system is for all citizens, including self-represented parties. The Fayette County Office of Circuit Court Clerk will assist and encourage all citizens to use our eFiling system within the Small Claims Division.”
Hardin County Circuit Court Clerk Loretta Crady said, “The Hardin County Circuit Clerk’s Office looks forward to doing our part to help move forward with eFiling for citizens representing themselves in small claims cases.”
To begin eFiling for small claims, users must register as first-time users. During registration, users will be asked to specify an account type and should select Self Represented Litigant from the drop-down menu. For assistance with eFiling and information about handling small claims, visit https://ehelp.kycourts.net/ and use the tab titled Self-Represented Litigants.
Learn more about the eFiling program.
Investing in court technology became one of Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton’s main goals when he became chief justice in 2008. Kentucky was operating as a paper court system and was years away from joining the federal courts and other state courts in offering electronic filing.
Today, eFiling is at the heart of KYeCourts, the court system’s sweeping, multiyear initiative to update court technology and transform how the judicial, legal and law enforcement communities do business. The aim of KYeCourts is to update Kentucky’s court technology to meet the demands on the court system and enable the courts to stay current with the mainstream of law and commerce.
EFiling is available to attorneys in all 120 counties for civil and criminal cases in Circuit and District courts. While eFiling is not mandatory, attorneys across the state have embraced the program in their daily practices.
The KYeCourts program also includes upgrading the court system’s technology infrastructure (hardware and software), replacing its case management systems for the trial and appellate courts, and acquiring a document management system that will electronically store and index court documents.
The Trimble County Office of Circuit Court Clerk began piloting a new case management system for the courts in 2017, and Henry, Owen and Carroll counties have since been added to the pilot user group. The court system anticipates rolling out a new appellate case management system and eFiling system for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals this year.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and 404 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.
PHOTOS: Pictured, in order of appearance, are Fayette County Circuit Court Clerk Vincent Riggs, Hardin County Circuit Court Clerk Loretta Crady and Kenton County Circuit Court Clerk John C. Middleton.