eFiling exemptions in Illinois Courts: cases & documents

In January 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an order mandating that the state adopt electronic filing procedures for the vast majority of cases and document types. Since that time, the original order has been amended to provide greater detail about the required processes and procedures. Nonetheless, the substance of that original mandate remains the same.

At its core, the Court’s new eFiling rule requires that “all documents in civil cases” be filed electronically, as per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9. While this language is relatively straightforward, there are some important exemptions and nuances that are worthy of discussion.

As an approved Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) for the state, we receive quite a few questions about Rule 9 and its exceptions. We’ve summarized our responses to the most frequent questions below.’

Are there any cases where eFiling is NOT permitted?

The current eFileIL system only permits eFiling into Civil case types at this time, not Criminal.

And on its face, Rule 9 only launches the mandate for eFiling into Civil cases. A May 30, 2017 Supreme Court order clarified that courts MAY allow eFiling in these case types:

  • Criminal Felony (CF)
  • Criminal Misdemeanor (CM)
  • Driving Under the Influence (DI)
  • Juvenile (J)
  • Juvenile Abuse & Neglect (JA)
  • Juvenile Delinquency (JD)

That same order asserts that eFiling is not permitted in the following quasi-criminal cases: Traffic (T), Ordinance Violation (OV), Conservation (CV) and Civil Law (CL).

Until further notice, you do not need to electronically file in any Criminal cases.

What about Civil cases? Are any documents exempted from the eFiling mandate?

Yes. Rule 9(c) provides specific exemptions to the eFiling requirements in Civil cases. They are:

(1) documents filed by incarcerated self-represented litigants;

(2) wills;

(3) documents filed pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (allowing for confidentiality of juvenile records and expungement); and

(4) documents subject to court order in a specific case, based on good cause shown.

What if an incarcerated self-represented litigant wants to eFile documents?

According to a press release issued by the Supreme Court on May 30, 2017, “Self-represented litigants incarcerated in a federal, state or local correctional facility shall not be required to [eFile] documents but are encouraged to do so if [eFiling] is available within the facility.”

When do these eFiling rules take effect?

eFiling became mandatory in Appellate Courts and the state Supreme Court on July 1, 2017. The eFiling mandate will also apply to Circuit Courts as of January 1, 2018. Rule 9(e). Certain courts, particularly those who had already had legacy eFiling systems in place, have been given extensions in order to more effectively transition.

Check on the status of your county with our frequently updated list of Illinois eFiling courts.

As a state-approved EFSP with over 27 years of court and eFiling experience, OneLegal is always available to assist with your eFiling needs. Check out our additional resources for eFiling in Illinois.

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