The Supreme Court of Illinois recently announced that electronic filing of documents in civil cases will be mandatory in the Supreme Court and all Appellate Court districts beginning July 2017. Electronic filing in all of the circuit courts will be mandatory beginning January 1, 2018.
E-filing is not a new initiative in Illinois. In 2002, a pilot program was put in place to begin electronic filing in certain circuit courts around the state. Circuit courts in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Madison, Will, and St. Clair served as the pilot sites for e-filing beginning January 1, 2003. Today, 15 of Illinois’ 102 counties have e-filing available in their circuit courts.
Once the new e-filing program fully goes into effect, attorneys and pro se clients will no longer be able to file hard copy documents with the courts unless their documents are specifically exempt from the rules or in the case of an emergency.
As with any new program of this scale, there will be challenges as the system is implemented across the state. However, the new uniform and environmentally friendly system will hopefully be quicker, more efficient, and help bring down costs for Illinois attorneys and clients.