Understanding the Electronic Court System in Chicago

jomar-thomas-271602-copy-300x200The United States is one of the few countries with a judicial system founded on the principle of democracy. This system of justice offers us an orderly and peaceful way to decide criminal cases. Additionally, the judicial system punishes the ones found guilty, resolves civil disputes, and protects our civil rights. Thus, the judges in Chicago have to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois. This is by interpreting and enforcing laws in individual cases. These judges and staff are always ready to do what it takes to maintain a court system that meets the highest standards of judicial performance.

One of the most notable changes and commitments is the introduction of electronic court systems in Chicago. This is not a new thing, especially for the federal court system, which went paperless more than 15 years ago. But, switching to the electronic court system is still a change that has dragged on in most circuit courts. Currently, you might even see some Chicago Circuit Court clerks spending their time carrying stacks of folders.

After years of relentless lobbying by frustrated attorneys, Chicago was able to take a step forward and join other counties in the digital world. This is ensuring that most of the businesses of the courts are done online, embracing electronic court systems.

Electronic Court Systems in Chicago

Almost all of the new court filings in Chicago and other parts of the state of Illinois must now be submitted electronically. This follows a set deadline. According to experts, switching to the electronic court system is a crucial step. However, this is one step that leaves the state court system several years behind the federal court system. Obviously this varies by state and is different for less populous states like Wisconsin and Iowa. They have quickly adopted the new policy.

Adopting electronic filing is aimed at increasing convenience, making the tracking of cases more manageable. But, most importantly, it helps in cutting the costs. However, assuming electronic filing fully by the set deadline has proven difficult. This is despite the fact that only one county in Illinois (DuPage) has petitioned to be exempted. Most legal observers still doubt whether some counties have managed to switch to the electronic court system completely. This is in the quest to meet the deadline that was set by the Illinois Supreme Court to be able to save taxpayers money.

For instance, only 38% of 178,000 civil cases in Cook county have been filled and submitted electronically this year. This might be an improvement, as it was only 21% last year. But, this still shows that most courts in Illinois have not entirely switched to the electronic court system.

There has also been cases of the e-file systems being down. If it continues, they will have to revert to the old system or find ways to improve the current one, which will cost taxpayers money. Others claim that the electronically filed lawsuits often take days or weeks to become public. This is unlike paper fillings, which were available even on the day of filing. According to Chicago Circuit Court Clerk, people have to be patient with the new system. This is because the electronic filing will modernize and simplify the filing of cases in Chicago and across the state of Illinois.

Moving towards electronic filing has been a bit slow in Chicago and other counties in the state of Illinois. Most people have blamed the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Lloyd A. Karmeier, for the delay in switching to the electronic filing. Most legal experts believe that the Chief Justice is not solely to blame. Further improvements will likely be needed.

If you have any problems or inquiries about filing your case using the electronic court system in Chicago, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at (312) 560-7100.

(image courtesy of Jomar Thomas)