How to eServe in Illinois courts

On July 1, 2017, Illinois enacted a plethora of revisions to the Supreme Court Rules. Among them were sweeping revisions to the procedures for effecting service of pleadings and other case documents.  As one of the state’s certified Electronic Filing Service Providers (EFSPs), we get a lot of questions about the new rules.

Here are answers to some of the top questions about eService in Illinois.

Who do the new e-Service rules apply to?

The rules require attorneys to serve case documents electronically. For self-represented parties, however, e-Service is optional. See Rules 11(c), 131(d)(1),(2).

Do I have to have an email address?

If you are an attorney, yes. Rule 131 requires that all documents filed or served in a case contain “the attorney’s name, business address, e-mail address, and telephone number.” Attorneys must include one primary email address and may designate up to two additional email addresses. Rule 131(d)(1).

Note, however, that if a party is represented by multiple attorneys, the opposing party is only required to effect e-Service on one of them. Rule 11(d).

While self-represented parties may provide an e-mail address and give their consent to electronic service, they are not required to do so. Rule 11(b).

How should eService be accomplished?

There are three primary ways to effect electronic service:

#1 Email the documents to all parties using their designated e-mail addresses

#2 Use one of the EFSPs approved by the state

#3 Use the State’s eFileIL service

Also, don’t forget to include your Proof of Service with proper affidavits pursuant to Illinois Code of Civil Procedure 1-109. See Rule 12.

What do I do if my email doesn’t go through?

The drafters of the Supreme Court rules must have the same electronic frustrations as the rest of us! Rule 11(e) provides that any time a party receives “a rejection message or similar notification suggesting that a transmission was not successful,” they must do two things:

First, make a “good faith effort” to notify the other party of the problem

Second, take reasonable steps to accomplish service by some other means.

If I eServe a document, when is the service considered complete?

According to Rule 12(c), eService is complete “on the day of the transmission.” Given that the eFiling deadline for the state is midnight to be considered filed on that business day, it is likely that eService will be given a similar timeline.

Can I eServe appellate filings?

Yes. Appellate filings are subject to the same rules as documents filed in trial courts. In fact, the state of Illinois published a guide for self-represented parties in appellate proceedings. That document makes express reference to Rules 11 and 12.

I’m not comfortable with eService yet. What do I do?

That’s not a problem. As a state-approved EFSP, OneLegal is here to help.

Watch our training on eFiling and eService in Illinois. Or stop by one of our bi-weekly office hours and one of our customer success team members will be happy to walk you through the process.

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What other questions has your firm had about the new eFiling process in Illinois. Share in the comments!

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