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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Access to Justice Commission’s redesigned forms to be published in January


The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ Commission) and the AOIC’s Access to Justice Division’s Forms Team (Forms Team) are excited to announce that statewide standardized forms will have a new design starting in January 2024.

Under Supreme Court Rule 10-101, the ATJ Commission is specifically charged with creating statewide standardized forms that are required to be accepted in all courts in Illinois. There are currently 56 form sets, with over 350 individual forms published on the IL Courts’ website. For over a decade, forms have been a fundamental part of the Commission’s work, and they have been integral in increasing access to our court system for self-represented litigants across the state.

All statewide standardized forms are created via a rigorous drafting and review process. The Forms Team oversees 13 drafting subcommittees in a myriad of areas of law where there is a high volume of self-represented litigants, or where developing forms would increase court efficiency or enhance access to justice. All forms are approved for publication by the ATJ Commission’s Forms Committee, chaired by the Honorable Michael Fiello and Honorable Catherine Schneider.

During the past decade, the Forms Team received feedback from numerous court stakeholders related to our forms, and it was clear that our forms and instructions needed a graphic redesign. In 2021 we worked with Briefly, Inc., a design firm specializing in legal content, to help reconceptualize our materials to make them more approachable and readable. A working group was also created to help direct the redesign of instructional materials. User testing was done with community-based organizations during various points in the development process and feedback from participants was used to improve content and design.

The first three redesigned form suites, Name Change (Adult and Minor) and Civil Fee Waiver, will be posted on the IL Courts’ website on January 2, 2024. Below is a preview of some of the new design features:

As you can see, the forms are now using color for emphasis and approachability. Even though the forms are in color, you can still read them easily if you print or copy them in black and white.

We are also using icons and leaving more white space to make the information more appealing and easier to comprehend. Our marginal instructions have also been added directly into the form.

We are also using icons and leaving more white space to make the information more appealing and easier to comprehend. Our marginal instructions have also been added directly into the form.

Our instructional packets will now include an overview page that shows each step in the process and what forms will be needed. That way, we can identify ways to direct self-represented litigants to consult court process maps when relevant, which will help them understand the overall court process better.

We are planning a gradual roll-out of our redesigned forms. This means many of our forms will continue to be in the current format, while others will be published in the redesigned format for the next couple of years.

All statewide forms must be accepted by courts, whether they are in the older format or redesigned format. We expect that there will be a lot of older format forms continuing to be filed while we make this transition to the new format.

If you are interested in learning more, members of the Forms Team will host training sessions on the redesigned forms and our rollout via Zoom on December 7 and 12, and on January 9 and 17. Advanced registration is required. You can sign-up for sessions by viewing the flyer here. A recorded session will also be posted on the ATJ Commission’s website soon for those unable to attend a live training session