Our Kansas Courts is a non-partisan, non-political, educational project sponsored by the Kansas Bar Foundation, designed to help educate Kansas citizens about our legal system, and, in particular, the role and structure of the court system.

There was a time when disputes were resolved by royal order and/or by violence. The king could do whatever he pleased, fair or not. No more. Today, if someone is accused of breaking the law, or if two people have a dispute about what rights they have against each other, that’s where the courts come into play. In Kansas, the courts interpret and apply the law, and resolve legal disputes.

The judiciary is one of three separate, equal, and independent branches of government. The other two branches are the executive branch (which enforces the law), and the legislative branch (which makes the law). Courts are designed to help balance the powers of the legislative and executive branches, and to be less subject to the political influence and popular trends. As such, a judge should not interpret the law based on popular public opinion.

In court, the law trumps popular opinion. As attorney Atticus Finch said in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: “But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal—there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man equal of an Einstein, and an ignorant man equal of any college president. That institution is a court.” The rule of law and the protection of individual rights within the rule of law are essential purposes of the judicial system.

Our Kansas Courts provides information about our court system and the judges and justices who conduct hearings and make legal decisions based on the Kansas Constitution and the rule of law.