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The Judicial Council works to improve the administration of justice in Kansas by continuously studying the judicial system and related areas of law, by recommending changes when they are appropriate, and by preparing publications which further this mission.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of the agency is to review the judicial branch of government and the various substantive and procedural codes used by the courts to identify problem areas or areas of potential improvement and to take appropriate action. To meet this goal, the Judicial Council establishes advisory committees to review specific areas of law and to make recommendations for needed improvement to the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council then reviews the recommendations, makes appropriate changes, and forwards the recommendations to the Supreme Court or to the Legislature for consideration and approval.
The Judicial Council was created in 1927. It is established under K.S.A. 20-2201 et seq. Members of the Council, its advisory committees are authorized compensation and allowances under K.S.A. 20-2206.
The Judicial Council is responsible for an ongoing study of the judicial branch of government. It recommends options for improvement in the administration of justice to both the Legislature and Supreme Court. Projects are initiated by the Council, assigned by the Legislature, and requested by the Supreme Court. Council work may involve drafting legislation and court rules, writing books and manuals, publishing forms, preparing jury instructions, and making reports and recommendations.
The Council has ten members, eight of whom are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as follows: one member of the Supreme Court, one member of the Court of Appeals, two district court judges, and four practicing attorneys. The Chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees are also members.
The Judicial Council uses advisory committees to assist in various projects. Advisory committees of the Judicial Council include Administrative Procedure, Appellate Procedure, Civil Code, Criminal Law, Death Penalty, Family Law, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Juvenile Offender / Child in Need of Care, Municipal Court Manual, PIK (Pattern Instructions for Kansas) - Civil, PIK (Pattern Instructions for Kansas) - Criminal, Probate Law, and Tribal-State Judicial Forum.
Examples of enacted legislation recommended by the Judicial Council include legislation enacting the Kansas False Claims Act; enactment of revisions to the Kansas Administrative Procedures Act and the Act for Judicial Review; enactment of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act; enactment of extensive revisions to the Kansas Code of Civil Procedure to bring the code into conformity with the restyled Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and legislation requiring additional information about persons proposed to serve as guardians and conservators and requiring that persons appointed as guardians and conservators complete a basic instructional program concerning their duties and responsibilities.