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Using re:SearchIL to access case documents online

When the Illinois Supreme Court announced mandatory eFiling in civil cases, it also announced that all courts would make case documents and information via the statewide remote access system re:SearchIL. Having online access to your case documents provides benefits like the ability to view documents quickly and search for court records in other jurisdictions.

re:SearchIL is an online repository that is similar to the Public Access to Court Records (PACER) system which is used in federal courts. Its purpose is to provide access to court records in Illinois courts that eFile. According to the re:SearchIL website, the platform helps attorneys:

  1. Search for all filings and activity in your cases including motions, appeals, and orders.
  2. Study opposing counsel including the types of cases they specialize in, their legal documents, and how they structure their arguments.
  3. Know the parties in your case like whether they are or have been involved in other suits either locally or in other jurisdictions.

However, the platform is not yet fully functional. Currently, only attorneys who have filed an Appearance in their case and parties to the case are able to use re:SearchIL to access the court records in their cases. Others who are not listed on the case or attorney staff such as law clerks, legal secretaries, and paralegals have not been granted access.

According to the Court’s May 30th order, digital access to court records can only happen once there has been a change to current rules such as the Court’s policy, which addresses the protection of confidential documents. Attorneys will only be able to review their own cases until these rules and policies are adjusted.

How it Works

First, re:SearchIL will ask attorneys to register or log in using their CourtFiling.net credentials that they typically use for eFiling. The system does not allow anyone besides the attorney to register or log in at this time.

Once the attorney has logged in, they will click on the module labeled “My Cases” in the dashboard. A list of all their cases pending in any Illinois county, including the Appellate Courts and Supreme Court, will appear.

The available case data ranges from January 1st, 2018 to the present. If local courts were to integrate their case management systems with re:SearchIL, than cases could potentially go back for years.

If an attorney does not see a particular case listed on their “My Cases” page, it usually means they are not identified within the eFiling Manager (eFileIL) or the court’s Case Management System for that case. In such a situation, the attorney would need to ensure they filed an Appearance in a case or call the court clerk directly in order to add themselves to the case. If the attorney does not see their cases filed in Cook or DuPage County, it is likely because those courts use Firm/Attorney ID numbers, not ARDC numbers.

What’s Next?

The company behind the court’s filing system, Tyler Technologies, has contacted Cook and DuPage County clerks about facilitating the change that will ensure attorney’s ARDC numbers are incorporated in the cases. However, attorneys are unable to see case information if that case is filed in Cook or DuPage County at this time.

While re:SearchIL has yet to reach its full potential, it is still beneficial for accessing case information and documents online and in other jurisdictions.

Read the original article about re:SearchIL published in partnership with the Chicago Bar Association.

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Tisha Delgado
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