The Illinois Supreme Court has again affirmed its commitment to allowing and encouraging the broad use of remote court appearances by approving an omnibus proposal after recommendation from the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee.
For amendments in this proposal to make sense, it is important to look back at how the Court has embraced remote appearances for the advantages it provides to courts, litigants, and lawyers. In in May 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court, adopted Supreme Court Rule 45, amended Rule 241, and adopted the Illinois Supreme Court Policy on Remote Court Appearances in Civil Proceedings to allow and encourage the broad use of remote court appearances. Pursuant to an initiative of the Judicial Conference, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice had suggested rule amendments relating to remote appearances and developed the policy.
In January of 2021, the Commission on Access to Justice submitted a second proposal this time to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee. This proposal sought to enforce and incorporate the applicability of Rules 45 and 241. The proposed amendments seek to incorporate and reinforce the applicability of Rules 45 and 241 to the Rules governing arbitrations, mediations, supplementary actions, foreclosure, and other civil proceedings. These Rules generally reference appearances but do not specify that the appearances may be made by telephone or video conference. With these amendments, it is now clear that the appearances may be done remotely in many different case types as envisioned by Rules 45 and 241. The order is available here.