Early in 2016 the Illinois Supreme Court entered order M.R. 18368, which set the timeline for mandatory e-filing statewide. By July 1, 2017, e-filing of civil cases will be mandatory for the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts. Beginning January 1, 2018, e-filing of civil cases will be mandatory in all Illinois circuit courts.
In anticipation of these deadlines, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) hired Texas-based Tyler Technologies to roll out a centralized, statewide e-filing system. Tyler's Odyssey File & Serve platform is currently used in 19 states.
According to AOIC Director Michael Tardy, the unified e-filing system will increase efficiency and streamline the litigation process for lawyers and pro se litigants. Tardy says the decision to use Tyler was based in part on the company's success providing statewide e-filing for Indiana (a state half the size of Illinois) and Texas (a state twice the size).
He also says that SB 3162, signed into law on August 19, 2016 and now PA 99-0859, imposes court automation fees which will be used to get e-filing "up and running." Given that the court has set a hard deadline for compliance with its order, Tardy says that the court system will continue to find ways to make statewide e-filing a reality.
Find out more about mandatory e-filing, including why clerks of the Illinois Appellate Court are worried about the looming deadline, in the October Illinois Bar Journal.