eFile Court Documents with Ease

eFiling 101

Since July 2018, eFiling has been mandatory in Illinois courts which means all your filing must now be submitted electronically. Here are the instructions for eFiling in Illinois and specifically Cook County.

Registration

First, you will have to set up an account by registering through any Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP), like CourtFiling.net. You will need to provide an email address for court notifications, your ARDC number, and a means of payment. An assistant, docket clerk, or paralegal can register and eFile on your behalf if necessary. CourtFiling.net will connect you to the statewide eFiling system.

PDF Software

When you eFile, all paperwork must be in PDF format. CourtFiling.net will automatically convert these documents for you or you could use conversion software. Keep in mind that, in addition to converting your documents, your software should also redact confidential information, add the correct designation, make your documents searchable, and add Bates numbers to your documents.

Local eFiling Rules

For courts that require eFiling, their websites will usually have sections dedicated to their specific eFiling rules, procedures, and common questions. CourtFiling.net also provides guides focused on Cook County eFiling. Review these resources before eFiling to ensure your filing isn’t rejected.

eFiling Process

Once you have chosen an EFSP, the eFiling process is fairly straightforward. Log into the court filing system via the EFSP and follow the prompts to upload your documents and submit them. Upon submission, the clerk will review your paperwork. The person who completed the filing will be notified when the filing is submitted, accepted, rejected, or erroneous.

Special Instructions for eFiling in Cook County

Case Numbers

In order to ensure your paperwork is filed in the correct case, you must enter your case number correctly. Enter the year using all four digits and use capital letters for the case division. Then enter the full case number with no spaces or dashes. Here are some example case listings:

Chancery Division (CH) – 5-digit case numbers (2018CH00123)

Law Division (L) – 6-digit case numbers (2019L001234)

Probate Division (P) – 6-digit case numbers (2019P001234)

The Municipal Court case number is an exception to this rule. This case number consists of the year, the Municipal District Code, and the six-digit case number. For example: 2018 M1 000123. When eFiling, however, enter the case number minus the M and remove all spaces so it is simply a string of numbers. For example: 20181000123. If there are fewer than six digits, include leading zeros.

Attorney Firm Code

Enter your attorney firm ID number into the “Case Cross Reference Number” section of every filing in order to prevent rejection.

Filing Motions and Setting up Hearing Dates

In Cook County, you will typically need to schedule a hearing date once you file a motion in your case. This process of setting up a hearing date is referred to as “spindling.” The statewide eFileIL system requires the filer to choose a hearing date after the paperwork is submitted. To work around this, submit your motion, pick a hearing date from the hearing calendar, then file your notice of motion. Note that there is an extra step to take when spindling motions in the Chancery, Domestic Relations, or Probate Divisions.

Read the original “eFling 101” article published in partnership with the Chicago Bar Association.

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Tisha Delgado
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