Illinois Courts Can Learn Something from the Federal Pacer System

Since the Illinois Supreme Court announced that the electronic filing of documents in civil cases will be required in all circuit courts by Jan. 1, 2018, discussion among Illinois court clerks, lawyers, paralegals and staff quickly changed from when to how.

To date, only 15 of 102 Illinois counties have sought and been granted approval for e-filing. The court’s deadline makes it clear that it is time to embrace the advancement of technology to make the Illinois court system more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.

As the courts and clerks’ offices go from an environment where paper is king to one of digital storage and access, lessons of the past may guide the challenges Illinois counties face to develop a quality electronic court filing and information system. And what better electronic court records system to look to other than the federal government’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.

Since its inception in 1988 (before the birth of the World Wide Web), Pacer changed how everyone, from pro se litigants to judges, obtained files and tracked federal cases. Yet, while the federal courts have enjoyed all the

READ MORE Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Volume 162, No. 117  June 15, 2016

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