Chief Justice Anne M. Burke and the Illinois Supreme Court announced amendments to Supreme Court Rules 281, 552, and 589 and the adoption of new Rule 8. Rule 8 defines case and document confidentiality and is intended to ensure that access to secured information in the court file are the same at all levels of courts. The updates to Rules 281, 552 and 589 are in conjunction with new recordkeeping requirements in the circuit courts pursuant to the Manual on Recordkeeping, effective January 1, 2022.
All rule amendments and new Rule 8 are effective January 1, 2022.
The Illinois Supreme Court Rules can be found here: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/SupremeCourt/Rules/default.asp
New Rule 8 is “Case and Document Accessibility” and states that “all cases and documents are presumed to be accessible by the court and the clerk”. It gives clerks the power to limit access to case information and documents that are not identified as public to the clerk and/or limited supervisory staff through the use of access codes restricting access and states that access to court records and documents remotely over the Internet will be as authorized by the Illinois Supreme Court Remote Access Policy.
New Rule 8 also defines access to case information and documents maintained by the clerk as being one of “Public”, “Impounded”, “Confidential”, “Sealed”, or “Expunged”, and notes that the court may enter an order restricting access to any case or document per order of court.
Rule 281 is the “Definition of Small Claim.” The amendment to Rule 281 removes tax collection cases up to $10,000 from being filed as a small claims case. All actions involving tax matters will now be filed as Tax Cases.
Rule 552 is “Uniform Tickets—Processing” and addresses citation and complaint forms. The amendment to Rule 552 makes it so that multiple citations issued to the same accused for more than one offense arising out of the same occurrence are now excluded from being assigned separate case numbers. The amended Rule now states, “Each accused shall be assigned a single case number containing multiple counts when more than one citation is issued arising out of the same occurrence.”
Rule 589 is “Uniform Civil Law Citations—Processing” and addresses Civil Law Citation forms. Similar to Rule 552, the amendment to Rule 552 makes it so that multiple citations issued to the same accused for more than one offense arising out of the same occurrence are now excluded from being assigned separate case numbers.
The amendments were the result of the work of the Illinois Judicial Conference’s Court Data and Performance Measures Taskforce. The new Manual on Recordkeeping can be found here.