In Illinois circuit court civil litigation, eFiling is mandatory through an approved electronic filing service provider (EFSP) like InfoTrack. Some exemptions apply to eFiling requirements. There may also be special instructions for eFiling in Cook County. Check with your local court for additional requirements.
eFiling registration requirements in Illinois
Attorneys must register individually with an approved EFSP. You may not file through a general law firm account – instead, each authorized attorney and filing party must have individual credentials. In-state attorneys must provide an active Illinois state bar number (ARDC number) and out-of-state attorneys must provide a state bar registration number and may be required to register pro hac vice.
In Cook County, an attorney must also obtain a Cook County Attorney ID Number to eFile.
If you practice in multiple courts in Illinois, a single EFSP account is generally sufficient.
Who can eFile in Illinois
Attorneys who have registered with an approved EFSP may eFile using their credentials.
Pro se parties must also eFile in Illinois unless they are exempt upon showing of good cause. To register to eFile, pro se parties generally must provide their name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number.
Document and technical requirements
Documents electronically filed in Illinois must conform to the same formatting requirements:
- Documents are 8.5-inch by 11-inch.
- Use 12-point font.
- Margins generally must be 1-inch on all sides. However, the first page of your eFiling should have 2-inch margins at the top above the caption.
- Files must be submitted in PDF format with optical character recognition (OCR) applied to make documents text-searchable.
- The preferred method for converting documents to PDF is to convert them directly from a word processor instead of scanning in order to apply OCR. Use this method whenever possible and only scan documents if there is no other option. If you must scan, use a scanner with OCR technology.
- The maximum file size for a single document is 25 MB.
- The maximum envelope (complete filing) size for Illinois trial courts is 50 MB and for reviewing courts it is 150 MB.
- Documents must not be encrypted or password protected.
- Documents should not contain any harmful material such as computer virus code that could damage the Illinois filing system.
- Redact any confidential information that is inappropriate for public viewing before submission using an effective redaction method such as commercial redaction software.
- If your filing includes color photographs or graphics, they must be submitted in full color as the original version.
In addition to these formatting requirements, Illinois suggests some basic technical standards to prepare for eFiling. To file in Illinois, you must have access to:
- A personal computer
- An operating system such as Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Mac OS X
- An internet connection – high speed is preferred
- An internet browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
- Word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect
- Software that can convert documents to PDF such as Adobe Acrobat Pro
- A scanner with OCR technology
- An email account
If you do not have access to the necessary equipment, check with your local courthouse. They may have eFiling stations that are available for your use during business hours.
Exemptions to eFiling rules in Illinois
There are some instances when individual courts or circumstances may require exceptions to general eFiling rules. These include:
- Proposed orders – If the court permits proposed orders to be e-filed, counsel typically must e-file a PDF version
- Courtesy copies – Some courts require courtesy copies to be physically delivered in addition to electronic filing
- Motions – Some motions have special eFiling rules. In some cases, motions from multiple parties must be eFiled in a single file, and in other cases, they must each be filed separately. Cook County has special procedures for motions. Check your local court rules
- Filing under seal – When filing under seal or confidentially, check with the court to find out the correct procedures for eFiling
Where to find additional information about eFiling rules in Illinois
For more detail on eFiling in Illinois, review these sources.
- The eFileIL Electronic Document Standards
- Ill. S. Ct. Order M.R. 18368 (electronic signature standards)
- The circuit court's local rules and orders for e-filing (for links to the circuit courts' e-filing local rules, see Illinois Supreme Court: Statewide E-Filing)
- The user manual for the relevant electronic filing service provider (EFSP)
- Circuit-specific orders and local rules regarding e-filing
- Any relevant case-specific orders
- The assigned judge's individual rules and any standing orders