Special instructions for eFiling in Cook County

Daley Center

These recommendations are condensed from a memo sent out by the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County on the morning of Friday, June 29, 2018. We’ve also changed certain language to match the filing terminology and workflow used in One Legal.

On July 1, 2018, Cook County went live with mandatory eFiling for all non-criminal case types.

As with any new system, the court continues to make adjustments and clarifications. The Cook County Clerk’s office published Special Instructions for eFiling in Cook County on Friday, June 29 to guide filers through some aspects of the filing workflow in the new Cook County system.

While these special instructions pertain to every Illinois certified eFiling service provider, several aspects of the court-published guidelines pertain to details about screen appearance and user interface that vary across eFiling services providers. For your convenience, we’ve condensed and clarified them for One Legal users below.

Vital information:

1. A Cook County Attorney Code number is required. When eFiling a new case or filing into an existing case (a.k.a. a subsequent filing), the court requires that a valid number be entered in the Cook County Attorney Code field or your filing will be rejected.

In One Legal’s system this field is clearly labeled “Cook County Attorney Code”. Simply enter the appropriate code into this field.

Note: New attorneys must obtain a Cook County Attorney Number prior to eFiling in Cook County. The form is available on the court’s website or in the Law Division, Room 801, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago.

2. If you need to schedule a motion for Domestic Relations Division cases, Probate Division cases, Chancery Division cases and for Law Division cases on Calendar 5 and Municipal District 1 (Chicago), the court requires you to indicate the type of motion you are filing by typing the word “Motion” in the field that corresponds to the type of motion you want to file. Motion dates cannot be scheduled unless this step is taken.

3. Many documents with the same case number may be submitted in the same transaction. However, each must be uploaded as a separate PDF, or the court will reject the filing.

4. Filings will be rejected for the following reasons:

  • Cook County Attorney Code not entered
  • Submitted without payment of the statutory fee(s)
  • The filing does not comply with the requirements set forth in GAO No. 2014-03, (effective July 1, 2018):
    – Do not file documents associated with different cases in the same transaction
    – Do not file multiple documents as a single PDF
    – Ensure documents are correctly formatted for electronic filing
  • Documents which are illegible (pursuant to Ill.S.Ct.R. 131, effective January 1, 2016)
  • Documents submitted to the wrong Division
  • Documents submitted as Confidential without the required order
  • A return date was required but indicated as ‘not applicable’ for the filing
  • Document(s) for a subsequent filing submitted as a case initiation
  • A new case (case initiation) was submitted without the appropriate documents
  • Indication of a fee waiver for a filing without including the application for waiver or copy of the order allowing the fees to be waived.

Fee waivers or exempt filers:

1. Self-represented filers with fee waivers should select “Yes, fee waiver (indigent filer)” in the Notification and Fees Section and, in the Documents step of the One Legal filing workflow, must include either an ‘Application for Waiver of Court Fees’ form or a copy of the order allowing the fees to be waived.

Civil legal service providers must upload a completed CLSP form, and government agencies must upload a completed Fee Exempt Reduced Fee Agency Cover Sheet.

Forms are available on the Clerk’s Office’s efiling portal at

Filings that omit completed fee waiver forms will be rejected by the court.

2. Government filers who have approved Intergovernmental Billing Agreements must choose “Yes, exempt (government agency)” in the Notification and Fees Section and, in the Documents step of the One Legal filing workflow, must include a copy of their approved Intergovernmental Billing Agreement with filings that require filing fees. Do not choose “Waiver” as the payment type. To set up a billing arrangement, call the Clerk’s office’s accounting department at 312.603.5035.

New cases (Case Initiation):

1. Be sure to select the correct municipal district and court location. If you don’t know the correct district to file in, please visit the Court’s website for village and municipal boundaries for each of the courthouse locations.

2. Upload a completed cover sheet for the division where the case will be heard. Cover sheets can be found on the Clerk’s court forms search page.

3. If required for your document, enter the demand amount in order to get the appropriate filing fee. Clerks may also refer to this as “ad damnum” or “amount in controversy.” If the demand amount is entered incorrectly and the wrong fee is paid, the filing will be rejected.

4. For mortgage foreclosure cases, after you select the filing type and you have selected your Document Type, Title and Privacy setting, navigate to Optional Fees. “Edit fees associated with this document” must be set to ‘Yes’ in order to select the appropriate tier for the Mortgage Foreclosure case. If the wrong tier is selected and the wrong fee is paid, the filing will be rejected.

5. When filing foreign judgments, counterclaims, administrative review or Civil Division cases with more than one defendant, the filer must navigate to Optional Fees and select ‘Yes’ for “Edit fees associated with this document” so the correct mailing fees can be paid.

6. When filing a name change case, enter the current name as the Plaintiff’s name and the new name being requested as the Defendant’s name.

Searching for existing cases (subsequent filings):

1. When eFiling subsequent filings, County County requires the case number to be entered as follows, without dashes or spaces. Note that the rules to find a match in the court’s system vary for different divisions, and sometimes for different municipal districts:

Division Case Number Formatting Case Number Example
Chancery year + division letter code + 5-digit case number 2018CH01234
Civil year + municipal district number + 6-digit case number 20183001234
County year + division letter code + 6-digit case number 2018COTD001234
Domestic Relations (Chicago) year + division letter code + 6-digit case number 2018D001234
Domestic Relations (other districts) year + division letter code + municipal district number + 5-digit case number 2018D401234
Law (Chicago) year + division letter code + 6-digit case number 2018L001234
Law (other districts) year + division letter code + municipal district number + 5-digit case number 2018L601234
Probate year + division letter code + 6-digit case number  2018P001234

If you don’t know your case number or need assistance finding your case number, please visit the Cook County Clerk’s website.

When filing an appearance, “Is a return date applicable to this filing?” must be set to ‘No’. This does not pertain to the return date already issued on the summons.

Selecting a court date:

1. If a return date is allowed by the court based on the lead document you have uploaded on the Documents page, One Legal will prompt you to confirm that a return date is applicable (the default in this case is ‘Yes’), and whether the filing has “Out-of-state service.”

If a return date is allowed by the court’s system but you determine it is not applicable for your filing, change the response to “No.” If you have indicated that a return date is applicable, the system will provide you with the first available return date. This date will appear on the Order Review page of your filing and will also be visible in the Order Details after your filing has been submitted.

If the court’s system indicates that your filing is not eligible for a return date, One Legal will display “A Return Date is not applicable for this filing.”

A return date is required if a summons is being issued. If a court date is required on the filing as well, the system will generate the court date after the filing is accepted.

Return dates are not relevant for some court divisions/case types. In these cases, you will not see any return date references for your filing.

2. In the Civil and Law Divisions, the hearing box may display dates when filing into an existing case. DO NOT choose a hearing date unless the filing requires it. If you’re unsure about whether a hearing date is required, call the division or municipal court where the case is being heard. Contact information is available on the Cook County Clerk’s website.

3. To get a court date for post-judgement cases in Civil municipal districts 1 – 6, you must select “Return Date” to get a court date.

General Information:

1. Be sure to correctly select “I’m filing documents on behalf of” so the correct information appears on the electronic docket.

2. Each time a document is uploaded, you need to select whether the document is “Confidential” or “Non-Confidential.” If you select “Confidential,” you must also upload a copy of an order allowing the document to be filed confidentially. If you do not have an order allowing the document to be filed confidentially, you must select “Non-confidential.” If “Confidential” is selected, and the court order is not included, the filing will be rejected.

Documents that may be filed confidentially pursuant to rule or statute are exempt from this requirement, such as Notices of Confidential Information Within Court Filing.

3. The eFileIL system allows an attorney to represent only one litigant, so you can only select one value from “I’m filing documents on behalf of” dropdown. However, be sure that the submitted documents properly reflect ALL litigants that are being represented.

Self-represented litigant information:

1. When eFiling either a case initiation (new case) or a subsequent filing (existing case), you must enter “99500” in the “Cook County Attorney Number” field or your filing will be rejected.

2. When filing a new case, you need to upload a completed summons for every defendant on the case. Once your case is accepted, print out each summons and copies of the filed-stamped documents and deliver them to the Sheriff’s office location where your case is being heard. The sheriff’s office DOES charge a fee for service of each summons.

If service by the sheriff is impractical or unsuccessful, you may be able to move to appoint a special process server. In this case, you can file the summons using One Legal.

3. If you are filing a small claims case in the Civil municipal divisions/districts divisions or Districts 1 – 6 , you can have your documents served by the Sheriff or via certified mail.

For the former, print out your documents and deliver them to the appropriate Sheriff’s office. For the latter, utilize the “Add Optional Services and Fees” section, select “Certified Mail” and enter the number of defendants you wish to serve in the “Enter a quantity” box.

How do I keep up with evolving Cook County eFiling instructions?

As Cook County streamlines its eFiling requirements over time, we will update our portal and this blog post to provide filers with the simplest eFiling experience possible. To stay informed about future changes, subscribe to our Illinois eFiling blog.

Cook County court filing guide

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