The Illinois Judicial Conference’s Remote Proceedings Task Force wants legal professionals and the general public to share their experiences with remote court hearings in the state.
The Task Force has issued two surveys — one for judges, attorneys, and other legal professionals, and the other for members of the public, including jurors and self-represented litigants – to get a clearer understanding of preferences when it comes to how remote hearings are conducted.
The results will be used to refine rules and policies regarding remote proceedings, with a larger goal of expanding access to justice and continuing to offer court appearances by telephone or videoconference technology.
The surveys are available on the Illinois Courts website and will remain open until June 23, 2022.
Remote court proceedings in Illinois
The Illinois Supreme Court has stressed the value of remote hearings for self-represented litigants, attorneys, and other court users, and has emphasized that remote hearings shouldn’t be viewed as temporary.
After increasing in frequency during the pandemic, remote court proceedings were recognized in Supreme Court Rules 45, 46, and 241 as an option that increases access to justice and court participation, leads to fewer defaults and failures to appear, and enhances case management and scheduling.
The benefits offered by remote hearings have also been recognized by other branches of government. A law that provides domestic violence and sexual assault survivors the option of remote hearings will go into effect in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2023. The bill emphasized the role of remote proceedings in reducing emotional stress and safety concerns for those involved in such cases.
About the Remote Proceedings Task Force
Earlier this year, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the creation of a Remote Proceedings Task Force to evaluate the current state of remote proceedings and provide best practice recommendations across the state.
The Task Force is made up of circuit judges, trial court administrators, circuit clerks, and practicing attorneys, including Judge Alicia Washington of the 10th Judicial Circuit, who also serves as a Commissioner on the Commission on Professionalism.
The Task Force is gathering information about remote proceedings and will make recommendations to the Supreme Court about potential rule and policy changes and pieces of training to further the use of virtual methods for conducting court business.
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