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Resources for Self-Represented Litigants in Civil Appeals

Case Information 

There are five appellate districts in Illinois.  If you do not know the appellate district you are in, you can locate that information on this map.  

For information about a pending court case, please contact your district's Appellate Court Clerk's Office.


Legal Information

For Illinois court forms and instructions for civil appeals, please visit the Illinois Supreme Court Standardized Forms.

For more information about Illinois laws and legal procedure, please see the Illinois Compiled Statutes and the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.  Civil appeals are governed by Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301-384.  

Each appellate district has local rules that must be followed.  You can find rules for each appellate district under the "Local Rules" section on the Illinois Courts' website.

For free legal information, please visit Illinois Legal Aid Online.

 
Guides and General Overviews

The AOIC's Guide for Appeals to the Illinois Appellate Court for Self-Represented Litigants provides detailed information about civil appeals. The guide provides a detailed overview of the civil appeals process, including rules, deadlines, frequently asked questions, and a checklist for filing in the appellate courts. 

The AOIC publishes a one-page overview of a civil appeal from a final order or judgment.

The Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court publishes a Guide to Bringing an Appeal, which highlights the steps necessary to file an appeal.

The Appellate Lawyers Association publishes A Guide to Illinois Civil Appellate Procedure, which provides a comprehensive overview of civil appeals.  The guide includes timelines, tips on conducting research to write briefs, and sample forms. 

The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Civil Appeals Division's website has an FAQ section and forms available for use (for appeals within the First Appellate District only).

The University of Illinois Law Library publishes a Self-Representation Guide intended to assist self-represented litigants with conducting basic legal research. It provides an overview of available legal resources and materials for conducting legal research in federal and state courts.   

The Chicago Association of Law Libraries publishes Finding Illinois Law: A Librarian’s Guide for Non-Lawyers, which is a guide aimed at assisting non-lawyers with understanding the legal system and conducting legal research, and locating resources. 

If you are a self-represented litigant seeking help with a federal case, please see the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois' Information for People without Lawyers (Pro Se) page.   Appeals from the Northern District of Illinois are filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.   The Seventh Circuit Bar Association publishes videos that provide an overview of the steps involved in the federal appellate process. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Civil Appeals

The AOIC provides a guide of frequently asked questions relating to civil appeals in the Illinois Appellate Court (it does not cover criminal appeals).  It is intended to assist self-represented litigants with understanding the steps necessary to file a civil appeal by addressing commonly asked questions about the process.   

You may view individual sections below (sections will be posted as they become available in the near future) -

Section 1:    The Basics of an Appeal
Section 2:    Overview of Steps and Forms
Section 3:    Information for the Appellee
Section 4:    Notice of Appeal
Section 5:    Request for Preparation of Record on Appeal
Section 6:    Request for Report of Proceedings, Bystander's Report, or Agreed Statement of Facts
Section 7:    Docketing Statement
Section 8:    Appellate Briefs
Section 9:    Oral Argument
Section 10:  The Appellate Court's Decision
Section 11:  Other Resources

 

Attorney Referral Information 

For help finding an attorney who specializes in appeals, please contact the Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (in Chicago) or the Illinois State Bar Association LawyerFinder (outside Chicago).  

If you are looking for an attorney outside of Illinois, please visit the American Bar Association's Find Legal Help.  


E-filing Information

You must electronically file (e-file) all court documents in civil cases in Illinois unless (1) you are an inmate in a prison or jail and you do not have a lawyer; (2) you are filing a will; (3) you are filing into a juvenile court case; (4) you have a disability that prevents you from e-filing; or (5) for good cause. The first four exemptions are automatic and you do not need to submit additional paperwork.

The fifth exemption (good cause) requires you to fill out and file a Certification for Exemption from E-Filing (found here: www.illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/default.asp), and to check off one of the following reasons to be exempt from e-filing:
(a)    I am representing myself and do not have the 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.
(b)    I am representing myself and have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English.
(c)    I am filing a document in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order.

Todos los sistemas de presentación electrónica de Illinois están solo en inglés. Si tiene dificultades para leer, escribir o hablar en inglés, podría estar exento de hacer presentaciones electrónicas. Puede ver la Certificación de exención de presentación electrónica en http://illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/efiling_exemption/Efiling_Exemption_Certification_Approved.pdf.

For a general overview of e-filing, please review this flyer.  El cartel de información para presentación electrónica de Illinois está disponible en Español. For information about how to successfully e-file in Odyssey eFileIL, please see the following step-by-step guides (more guides will be added in the near future).

1. Prepare Your Documents (Appeals)
2. Register to E-File (Appeals)
3. Sign-In to Your Account (Appeals)
4. Create a New Password if You Forgot It (Appeals)
5. Add a Payment Account (Appeals)

The Second Appellate District also publishes guides to assist litigants with e-filing  - Guide for Filers Filing Documents on EFileIL and How to Receive Records via Odyssey EfileIL.

If you are filing an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court, the Court publishes an Electronic Filing Procedures and User Manual for the Supreme Court of Illinois

Contact Details

For general questions about civil appeals, please email:
AppellateSelfHelp@illinoiscourts.gov

Alison Spanner, Assistant Director
Access to Justice Division
aspanner@illinoiscourts.gov
312-793-3859 (phone)
312-793-0740 (fax)
Kathryn Hensley, Senior Program Manager
Appellate and Illinois JusticeCorps
khensley@illinoiscourts.gov  
312.793.6153 (phone)
312-793-0740 (fax)

Disclaimer:  Information and resources presented on this website do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for legal counsel.  If you are in need of legal advice, you must speak with a lawyer.  The resources provided herein are provided for informational purposes only and are neither legal authority nor a substitute for the requirements found in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.