Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court announced a plan to expand remote access to court information and documents. The new Remote Access Policy (RAP), which took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, is being tested by a subset of Illinois licensed attorneys that were selected by the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Technology.
The RAP will be tested during a trial period using the statewide re:SearchIL portal. Prior to June 30, 2020, an initial review of the RAP will be conducted to determine if expansion to judicial partners and the public is appropriate.
Since 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court has worked to develop rules, policies, and technologies that protect confidential / sensitive information but allow appropriate remote access. Through continued evaluation of RAP, the court hopes to establish policies that balance the need for unrestricted access to court documents with invading personal privacy and increasing the risk of irrevocable harm.
The RAP includes the following principles for remote access to court documents in the circuit, appellate and Illinois Supreme Court:
- Court documents are open to public access unless restricted by court order, court rule, law or policy;
- Information contained in some documents may exclude them from remote access, even though they’re accessible at the courthouse;
- Some documents must be prohibited from remote access based on contained information;
- Confidential records as defined in the policy are excluded from remote access;
- All access policies should be clear and applicable to all levels of courts.
Courts that are currently integrated with re:SearchIL are required to make written orders entered on or after Jan. 1, 2020, available to the remote access system. Once integrated, all other courts will make written orders entered after integration available to re:SearchIL. The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts can provide technical assistance to ensure proper implementation.
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