Mastering eFiling can take time and dedication. Legal support professionals themselves still need assistance to ensure that they electronically file paperwork the correct way. In the same vein, pro se (self-represented litigants) need a complete walk-through and assistance from the court or a lawyer to make sure that the paperwork correctly submitted to the court system.
On top of the requirements, eFiling can differ from county to county. The Cook County Clerk listed special instructions for filing in their court system. Here, we break down the peculiarities of filing in Cook County, Illinois to help guarantee accepted files.
To get started, view and download Cook County’s court forms that you may need for your case.
If you select confidential security (step 3 on CourtFiling.net), then you must have a separate order permitting the confidential filing. Upload that confidential permit order with your other court documents. However, there are exemptions as noted in the law where you do not need a separate form. For example, Notices of Confidential Information Within Court Filing documents do not require a separate order as they are pre-approved.
If you are looking to have your eFiling fees waived, you must have an approved order from the court. Visit the Cook County Clerk’s website for Fee Waiver Hearing information.
Depending on the type of filer, you will need specific waiver forms:
When filing a new case, you must upload a Cover Sheet for the specific division where you are filing your case. You can find these forms on the Cook County’s Court Forms webpage.
For civil cases, the ad damnum amount affects the filing fee. Therefore, for papers to be accepted, you must include the right Ad Damnum (claim amount) fee.
If you are filing documents for a mortgage foreclosure case, be sure to choose “Add Optional Services and Fees” to choose the right tier for the Mortgage Foreclosure case.
In order to pay the correct mailing fees, click the “Optional Services” when filing foreign judgments, counterclaims, administrative review cases, and civil division cases when there are multiple defendants.
Enter your current name as the Plaintiff and your new requested name as the Defendant.
Be sure that you are entering your case number in the correct format as the court system catalogs numbers in a specific way. If you are having trouble, read this help article about finding the correct case number.
If you are filing an appearance, be sure to check “Return Date Not Applicable” so the system can generate a status date. This specific date does not relate to the summons’ return date.
Return dates are necessary when issuing summons. From the calendar option, choose when your case needs a return date. If you are not sure of your return date or if you need one, click “validate” so it chooses the first available date, otherwise, the system will automatically complete that a return date is not applicable.
If you are not sure if your case requires a hearing date, contact the specific division or suburban district where you are filing your paperwork. Be sure to not choose a hearing date unless your case type requires one.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, those who are representing themselves must include the code 99500 into the Case Cross Reference section under “Cook County Attorney Code.” Failure to do so will result in a rejected filing.
When filing a new case, the parties involved in your suit must be served with a summons to alert them in the new case initiation. You can use Step 8 when filing a new case in CourtFiling.net to request a process server or contact a server on ServeNow.com.
Cook County understands that eFiling is difficult for certain filers. While eFiling is possible for pro se individuals, they do allow self-represented individuals to file for an eFiling exemption.
eFiling Exemption Reasons:
If you have additional questions about eFiling in Cook County, IL, contact the court, the clerk’s office, or visit their website.