December 21, 2020
The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the approval of Order M.R.18368, which provides a timeline for the expansion of the Remote Access Policy (RAP) for Illinois licensed attorneys and legal services providers in User Group 5.
“This is an important step forward in providing access to justice in our state,” Chief Justice Burke said. “Remote access to court documents has become ever more important due to the ongoing pandemic and limiting in-person appearances at courthouses.”
Under the expansion, Illinois licensed attorneys and legal service providers in User Group 5 will be allowed access to the following:
1. Access to all non-confidential documents in all case types via local Case Management Systems maintained by circuit clerks remotely over the Internet. This expanded access is effective immediately.
2. Access to the six (6) case types (Arbitration, Eminent Domain, Law, Law Magistrate, Municipal Corporation & Tax) in all integrated and certified courts via Re:SearchlL. Upon successful testing, this expanded access will be provided no later than March 1, 2021.
3. Access to all non-confidential documents in all case types in all integrated and certified courts via Re:SearchlL. Upon successful testing, this expanded access will be provided no later than July 1, 2022.
In addition, all trial and reviewing courts are to become integrated and certified with re:SearchlL no later than January 1, 2022. The full order is available online here.
The RAP was initially released in January 2020 to a subset of Illinois licensed attorneys selected by the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Technology for a trial period using the statewide re:SearchIL portal for court records.
Expansion of the RAP was recommended by the e-Business Policy Advisory Board (Board). The Hon. David A. Hylla, a former judge on the Third Circuit of Illinois from 2006 to 2019, serves as the Board Chair. The Administrative Director of the Illinois Courts has authority to amend the RAP as is necessary and appropriate.
“This significant step by the Court allows the practicing bar to immediately have the same access to court records remotely, through local case management systems, as if they were in the courthouse. This will eliminate the need for travel to the courthouse to look at court files in most counties. Remote access will continue to be expanded over the next 18 months so that records of all the state's trial and reviewing courts will be accessible through one portal, re:SearchIL, ” Judge Hylla said. “Statewide remote access to court records was a primary goal in moving Illinois from paper to an electronic record system. The expansion of remote access will continue to improve the ability of the bench and bar to serve the public safely and efficiently.”
Attorneys are reminded to follow Rule 138 regarding Personal Identity Information and Rule 364 regarding Privacy Protection for Documents Filed in Courts of Review.
The full text of the RAP and the User Group Access Chart is available here.