November 18, 2017, 7:31 pm
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General Information About Illinois Court Records and Laws
 When searching for Illinois court records, it is important to note that the court system in this state is actually quite extensive. The Illinois state court system serves a population of close to thirteen million residents, living in communities that range from small town rural to major metropolis.
The courts in the state of Illinois recognize both the First Amendment and the common law right to access Illinois court records. In addition, the state legislature sanctioned a statute that makes all Illinois court records filed with a circuit court clerk presumably open for inspection by the public.
 What You Can and Cannot Access
As a general rule, you should be able to obtain access to docket information, the motions and pleading of parties involved in a lawsuit, the orders and the decisions of the court, transcripts of related hearings as well as evidence introduced in the case by either side of the court.
You will not be able to access the majority of juvenile court records, nor will you be able to examine any materials that may have been exchanged by involved parties but not filed with the court. For example, if the parties involved in a lawsuit reach a settlement agreement but do not submit that agreement to the court, you will not be granted access to the agreement.
 Sealed Court Files
Anyone involve in a criminal case or lawsuit has the right to request that their court record to be sealed for a number of different reasons, including the protection of privacy and secrets of their trade. In order to request record closure, the party must have a compelling reason that the court supports.
In addition, in order to have Illinois court records sealed, you must submit specific and factual evidence that justify the files being sealed. The reason for this is to narrow the possibilities of sealing most Illinois court records effectively. After all, if given the option, most people would request the sealing of their records, which is not ideal for the public interest.
In the past, Illinois courts have granted the closure of court records that contain personal financial information or medical information. However, simply requesting that your court records be sealed in order to avoid embarrassment is simply not an option.
An order has to be issued by the court in order to seal any documents contained within Illinois court records. If you need access to sealed records, your best option is to seek legal counsel to move to intervene, challenging the court's decision to seal the records.
 About Illinois Courts
The court system in Illinois is made up of appellate courts, circuit courts and the Supreme Court.
The appellate courts in Illinois consist of a presiding judge as well as other judges. Each appellate district also has a research director, a clerk and other staff as appointed by the judges of such courts.
For most cases in the state of Illinois, the courts of original jurisdiction for the majority of cases are the circuit courts. Three of the twenty-two circuit courts in the state serve specific counties, while the remaining nineteen circuit courts serve from two to twelve different counties.
The Supreme Court justices meet to hear cases in Springfield on the second Monday of January, March, May, September and November. Generally, fifty minutes is allowed for each case presented.
When searching for Illinois court records, it is a good idea to gather as much information about the case in question as possible. The records that you seek will most likely be filed with the court that heard the case, so having these details will narrow your search and save you time finding the information that you need.
Illinois Court Records
  • Legislation Records

    Legislative Information System
    705 Stratton Building
    Springfield, IL 62706
    p (217) 782-3944
    f (217) 524-6059
  • Statewide Court Records

    3101 Old Jacksonville Road
    Springfield, IL 62704
    p (217) 558-4490

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