The Illinois Supreme Court’s Statutory Court Fee Task Force (Task Force) announced the release of its final report, a follow-up to the work of the first Task Force in 2016. The new report builds on the original Task Force recommendations that were aimed at reducing barriers to access to justice, expanding the availability of fee waivers to low-income litigants, and simplifying the system of court fees imposed in civil, criminal and traffic cases.
The title of the new report is “Report on Implementation of 2016 Task Force Recommendations and Additional Proposed Measures for Addressing Barriers to Access to Justice and Excessive Financial Burdens Associated with Fees and Costs in Illinois Court Proceedings”. The full report can be found here.
The recommendations of the first Task Force led to legislation (the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act, P.A. 100-987) and court rules that effected a sweeping overhaul of the fees and costs imposed by Illinois courts. The Supreme Court created the current Task Force in 2021 to evaluate the effectiveness of those reforms and consider potential follow-up measures.
The Task Force is made up of legislators, judges, lawyers, and circuit clerks from across the state, many of whom served on the original Task Force. Steven F. Pflaum, of the Chicago law firm of Neal, Gerber and Eisenberg LLP, serves as chairperson of the Task Force, and also chaired the original Task Force.
The Task Force held two public hearings in connection with its effort to obtain broad input and perspectives regarding the impact of the previous reforms and additional areas where improvement is needed. The resulting report is divided into sections addressing (1) issues concerning implementation of the original Task Force recommendations, (2) additional proposed reforms, including eliminating fees and fines in juvenile delinquency proceedings, and (3) the collection of court fee data by circuit court clerks needed to evaluate the operation of the current system and identify areas for future improvements.
The report includes a 27-page Appendix containing legislation and court rules recommended by the Task Force.