Post authored by Tisha Delgado, brought to you by CourtFiling.net
Legal professionals have been eFiling now for a little over a year and one of their frequently asked question is: “how can we access the eFiled documents online?” The ability to view documents online for quick access and search for court records in other jurisdictions are just a few of the benefits of online access to your case documents. When the Illinois Supreme Court first announced mandatory eFiling in civil cases, it also ordered that “[b]y no later than July 1, 2018, all courts shall make available their case documents and information to the statewide remote access system known as re:SearchIL.”
It kind of happened.
The re:SearchIL platform is an online repository similar to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system used in federal courts. It was built to provide access to court records in all Illinois courts that eFile. As marketed on the re:SearchIL website, this platform is supposed to help attorneys:
- Search for all filings and activity in your cases, including motions, appeals, and orders – everything case related.
- Study opposing counsel – see the types of cases they specialize in, study their legal documents and how they structure their arguments.
- Know the parties in your case – are they currently or previously been involved in other suits, either locally or in other jurisdictions?
However, this application is not yet fully functional. Currently, only attorneys of record (those who have filed an Appearance in their case) and parties to the case are able to access the court records in their cases using re:SearchIL. Access has not yet been expanded to include others who are not listed on the case or attorney staff such as law clerks, legal secretaries, or paralegals. As further stated in the Court’s May 30th Order, “[r]emote access to court records will first require revisions to current rules and policies, including the Court’s Electronic Access Policy to Circuit Court Records, to address the protection of confidential documents and information in case records and uniform document access fees. The Court’s e-Business Policy Advisory Board is charged with review and recommendations in this regard.” The rules and policies are still being defined and until those decisions are made, attorneys will not be able to use re:SearchIL to search or view the docket of cases they might be following or have an interest. Attorneys can only view their own cases.
Here’s how it works.
re:SearchIL asks attorneys to register and log in using their CourtFiling.net credentials that they use to eFile with the Illinois courts. The re:SearchIL system does not allow anyone other than the attorney of record to register and login at this time.
Once attorneys have logged into the system, they will see a dashboard containing a module called “My Cases.” When they click on that section, they will see a list of all their cases pending in any of Illinois’ 102 counties, including the Appellate Courts and Supreme Court, where their ARDC number appears.
The available case data ranges from January 1, 2018, to the present. If local courts wanted to integrate their case management systems with re:SearchIL, then cases and documents could possibly go back for years.
If attorneys do not see one of their cases listed on the “My Cases” page, it typically means they are neither identified within the eFiling manager (eFileIL) nor the court’s Case Management System for a particular case. Attorneys would then need to ensure they filed an Appearance in a case and/or call the court clerk directly to add themselves to the case.
Note: If the attorney does not see any of their cases filed in Cook County or DuPage County, that is because those courts use Firm/Attorney ID numbers, not ARDC numbers.
Tyler Technologies, the company behind the court’s filing system, contacted Cook County and DuPage County clerks to facilitate a process change that will ensure the attorney’s ARDC numbers are incorporated on the cases. However, at this time attorneys are still unable to see case information if that case is filed in Cook or DuPage County.
Even though the use of the re:SearchIL platform is limited, it still provides the benefit of accessing case information and documents online in other jurisdictions. We look forward to it being fully functional and including the two largest counties in Illinois.
About the Author:
Tisha Delgado is a senior litigation paralegal and e-discovery specialist at Golan Christie Taglia, where she maintains complex databases and assists clients in collecting and exporting electronically stored information and social media. An educator, trainer, and thought leader, Tisha is frequently called on to speak at paralegal schools and legal education conferences. She currently advises legal professionals on e-filing rules and procedures, and how to create successful workflows to accommodate an evolving e-filing system in the Illinois state courts. Tisha is a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the Illinois Paralegal Association, presently serving as its Vice President and Litigation Section Chair.