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Appellate Court General Information | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Except for those cases appealed directly to the Supreme Court, a person has the right to request a review of a circuit court judge’s decision by the Appellate Court.

The Appellate Court is organized into five districts. The first meets in Chicago, second in Elgin, third in Ottawa, fourth in Springfield, and the fifth in Mt. Vernon. Each district can have one or more divisions. There are six divisions in the first district and one in each of the other four. The Supreme Court assigns judges to the various divisions. The presiding judge of each division assigns judges to panels of three to hear appeals.

The number of appellate court judgeships, currently fifty-four, is determined by the legislature. The Supreme Court can assign additional circuit, appellate or retired judges temporarily to any district. Judges are elected by voters in each district for ten-year terms, and may be retained for additional ten-year terms. Each judge has a support staff of two law clerks and a secretary.

Each district manages its own operations, subject to the overall authority of the Supreme Court. In the first district (Cook County), an executive committee exercises general administrative authority. This committee elects a chairperson and vice-chairperson for one year. In the other districts, judges select one of their members to serve as presiding judge for one year.