Information for Filers Without Lawyers | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts
If you don’t have a lawyer and need to represent yourself in court, you are called a
self-represented litigant or pro se party.
How to electronically file (also called e-file)
You must complete
TWO STEPS to e-file documents with the Court:
1. Find and prepare the right documents.
2. E-file your documents online using an electronic filing service provider (EFSP).
STEP 1: Prepare Your Documents
Option 1: Find forms on the forms website of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
Option 2: Visit Illinois Legal Aid Online (in English, Spanish, and Polish) to find the right forms. Their site has free, online, guided interviews called "Easy Forms." They also have blank forms in the Form Library. Below are links to some of the most popular help areas. After you fill out your documents, save them and follow the instructions in the next step to e-file.
Option 3: Visit the Illinois Guide & File site to use a free, online guided interview for one of the case types below. You can sometimes e-file at the end of the interview. If you can’t e-file at the end, save your documents and follow the instructions in the next step to e-file.
Option 4: Contact your local court to see if they have forms.
STEP 2: e-File Your Documents Online
When your documents are ready, select an EFSP to e-file your documents online with the Court. Each EFSP offers a variety of additional services to help you (
see comparison chart). Click here for the full list of EFSPs.
Exemptions from e-filing
You do NOT have to e-file if:
- You are in prison or jail,
- You are filing a will,
- You are filing into a juvenile court case,
- You have a disability that prevents you from e-filing, or
- You have a reason to not e-file for good cause. You need to fill out and file a Certification for Exemption from E-filing and pick one of the following reasons you cannot e-file:
- I do not have internet or a computer in my home. My only access is through a public terminal at a courthouse, library, or other location. This poses a financial or other hardship.
- I have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English.
- I am filing in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order.
- I tried to e-file my documents, but I could not complete the process because the equipment or assistance I need is not available.
Where to Find More Help
Free or low-cost legal advice (you must qualify for help):
Find a lawyer to hire: