Bench & Bar

MAR 2018

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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| MARCH/APRIL 2018 2 In Kentucky, one of the highest levels of poverty is in Clay County: It is clear that because we have so many people in Kentucky living below the pov- erty line that we have more than our fair share of people who cannot afford legal services. e Kentucky Access to Justice Commission was created to address these inequalities that exist in our Common- wealth. e Kentucky Access to Justice Commission is a blue-ribbon panel that brings together the Courts, the Kentucky Bar Association, civil legal aid providers, and other stakeholders in a coordinated effort to identify and remove barriers to civil justice for low-income and disadvan- taged people. e Commission embodies shared, ongoing institutional commitments to address issues of access to justice in a coordinated and collaborative way, mobi- lizing the stature of individual leaders, the T hat statement comes to us not only from Gandhi but also from many of the teachings of the great religions of the world. It is a fundamental concept of a just society that has been repeatedly acknowledged down through the centuries. It is applicable in every society around the world. It is applicable here in the United States of America even though we have been termed the wealthiest society in the history of the world. Even with our great wealth we still have many among us who are not well off and who do not have the advantages that others may have. Our founding fathers recognized this fact when they wrote the Constitution and made this country a country dedicated to the Rule of Law, a country where every woman and man is created equal. Unfor- tunately, people who have more wealth have more access to the courts of this country than do those who do not have wealth. e result of this inequality in wealth is an inequality in the administration of jus- tice. As a result many people in America, including citizens of this Commonwealth, The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. - m a h a t m a g a n d h i do not have access to the courts and that means that they do not have access to justice. Many of our fellow citizens live in financial poverty. 12.7 percent of the population of the United States lives below the poverty line, while 18.5 percent of Kentucky's cit- izens, or 820,845 Kentuckians, live below that standard. Other statistics make Ken- tucky's level of poverty even more graphic. Kentucky is one of only four states in the United States where more than 18 percent of our population lives below the poverty line. have a higher percentage of people living in poverty than the Kentucky average of 18.5% of Kentucky's 120 counties 68 have a higher percentage of people living in poverty than the United States average of 12.7% of Kentucky's 120 counties 109 of Clay County residents live below the poverty line. 46.8% BILL GARMER KBA PRESIDENT PRESIDENT'S PAGE

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