Resources for Self-Represented Litigants
PLEASE NOTE: Many Illinois courts are open for emergencies only. Additionally, the Illinois Supreme Court has issued extensions for deadlines in the Appellate Court and Supreme Court. Please see the Illinois Courts website for information about your local courthouse or contact the clerk in your county or appellate district.
For E-filing Information
You must electronically file (e-file) all court documents in civil cases in Illinois unless (1) you are an inmate in a prison or jail and you do not have a lawyer; (2) you are filing a will; (3) you are filing into a juvenile court case; (4) you have a disability that prevents you from e-filing; or (5) for good cause. The first 4 exemptions are automatic and you do not need to submit additional paperwork.
The fifth exemption (good cause) requires you to fill out and file a Certification for Exemption from E-Filing (found here: www.illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/default.asp), and to check off one of the following reasons to be exempt from e-filing:
(a) I am representing myself and do not have the Internet or a computer in my home. My only access is through a public terminal at a courthouse, library, or other location. This poses a financial or other hardship.
(b) I am representing myself and have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English.
(c) I am filing a document in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order.
Todos los sistemas de presentación electrónica de Illinois están solo en inglés. Si tiene dificultades para leer, escribir o hablar en inglés, podría estar exento de hacer presentaciones electrónicas. Puede ver la Certificación de exención de presentación electrónica en http://illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/efiling_exemption/Efiling_Exemption_Certification_Approved.pdf.
For a general overview of e-filing, please review this flyer. For information about how to successfully e-file in Odyssey eFileIL, please review these resources. El cartel de información para presentación electrónica de Illinois está disponible en Español. Para obtener información sobre cómo presentar correctamente “e-filing” en Odyssey eFileIL, revise estos recursos:
Step-by-step written guides with screenshots (English)
Audio-visual guides in English
Guías en Español
3. Sign In
9. Pay Fees
For Legal Information
For free legal information and legal aid referrals, please visit Illinois Legal Aid Online.
To see the overall process of getting a divorce in Illinois when you have children, please click here.
For information about civil appeals, please see the Guide for Appeals to the Illinois Appellate Court for Self-Represented Litigants.
For Illinois court forms and instructions, please visit the Illinois Supreme Court Standardized Forms.
For Case Information
For information about a pending court case, please contact your local Circuit Court Clerk.
For Attorney Referral Information
If you are looking for an attorney outside of Illinois, please visit the American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory.
For Free or Low Cost Legal Advice
In Chicago and Cook County, please call CARPLS at (312) 738-9200 for free or low-cost legal advice and referral information. Please note that you may have to wait for up to 20 minutes to speak with an attorney. For $25 you can schedule an appointment. Please visit the website for more information.
In Northern Illinois (outside of Cook County), please contact your local Prairie State Legal Services office.
In Southern Illinois, please contact Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation's Legal Advice and Referral Center at (618) 394-7300 or toll free at (877) 342-7891.
Alison Spanner, Assistant Director
Access to Justice Division
Jill E. Roberts, Senior Program Manager
Self Represented Litigants