This week, the Illinois Supreme Court launched a newly designed website for the Judicial Branch. The redesign is aimed at making information about Illinois’ courts and their services more accessible to the general public, court patrons and employees, and the media.
“The Illinois Supreme Court is extremely excited for the rollout of this new website,” said Chief Justice Anne M. Burke in a press release. “It contains a wealth of information on the Illinois Judicial Branch including the Circuit, Appellate and Supreme Court levels. Extensive user testing was done to ensure that people are able to quickly and easily navigate to find what they need.”
New & improved features for lawyers
The website was designed with four portals containing information that specific users may need: the general public, judges, lawyers, and the media. Lawyers may find the following sections specifically helpful:
- Find your local court – Find the location and information on your local court via this directory that includes listings for the state’s 108 courts.
- Access legal resources – View the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, Rules of Professional Conduct, Rules of Evidence, Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, and more online or download PDF versions for easier searching and use.
- Review court opinions and Rule 23 orders – New filters make it easier to search and sort through court and Rule 23 orders.
- View court forms – Access Supreme Court rule forms, standardized court forms, administrative forms, and ADA forms through this Forms Hub.
- Stay up to date on bail reform efforts – Learn about Illinois’ efforts to rethink and improve effective and fair bail decisions.
- Search judicial vacancies – Search associate and circuit judicial vacancies across Illinois.
- Opt-in on court news – Subscribe to receive email or text notifications from the Supreme Court including opinions, oral argument calendars, and press releases.
The new website also has an improved Self Help section targeted at self-represented litigants (SRLs), which have been on the rise in Illinois and nationwide.
In 2020, half of all family law cases and 56% of domestic violence cases in Illinois had at least one person representing themselves. The number of SRLs is expected to continue to be high as people deal with the fallout from post-pandemic civil legal issues.
Meeting a strategic goal
The new website is the result of a collaboration between Judicial Branch staff and the Illinois Judicial Conference’s Website Task Force. The task force was launched in 2019 as part of the Judicial Branch’s 2019-2022 Strategic Agenda, which serves as a blueprint for the future of Illinois’ courts.
The development of a new website was part of Strategic Goal 4, aimed at improving understanding of and confidence in the Judicial Branch.
“I would like to commend the Judicial Branch Staff and the members of the Task Force for the enormous amount of work they put into this new site,” said Lake County Judge Daniel B. Shanes, chair of the task force, in the release. “Reimagining a site with thousands of pages and documents was a daunting task, but the end result is something to celebrate.”
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