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Illinois Court Records

Illinois court records refer to documents filed by one party or both in court. The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) protects and gives the right to any person to access public records such as court records. Court records may include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Domestic records
  • Divorce records
  • Juvenile records
  • Financial records
  • Adoption and paternity records
  • Mental health records

Note that some court records are not available in public like adoption and paternity records, mental illness records, confidential name changes, and any other records deemed confidential by court order.


Which Illinois Courts Maintain Publicly Accessible Records?

The judicial circuit courts of Illinois maintain publicly accessible records. Also known as trial courts, every case enters the circuit court through the clerk’s office. The appellate courts review the trial court’s decisions. In some cases, the public may appeal the trial court’s decision to the appellate court or sometimes directly to the Supreme Court. 


What are the Common Public Court Records in Illinois?

The most common types of public court records in Illinois are as follows: 

Criminal Court Records

Criminal court records are public under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which gives anyone the right to access such records by request. Court records involving criminal charges are available at circuit courts, district courts, and the Supreme Court. 

The public may also get criminal court records online if they sign up for an account. Some counties also have their own search portals to find any type of Illinois court records, including records on criminal court cases. 

Civil Court Records

Civil court records mainly refer to lawsuits that involve conflicts over money issues of up to $25,000. This type of record can be between people, businesses, or both. Cases under the civil court usually involve a breach of contract, property damage, landlord and tenant disputes, defamation, or personal injury. 

Small Claims Records

Small claims records are somewhat similar to civil court records. However, court records under small claims can only involve damages for a maximum of $10,000. Unlike other court cases, the public can file small claims even without a legal representative such as a lawyer as long as they pay filing costs and are over 18 years of age, according to the Clerk of Courts’ Jurisdiction Act (705 ILCS 105).

Bankruptcy Filings

Bankruptcy filings involve the following documents available to the public:

  • Income documentation and tax returns
  • Bank account or mortgage statements
  • Proof of real estate fair market value
  • Vehicle registration
  • Liens and foreclosures

The public can request bankruptcy records as long as they pay the necessary cost for duplication and any other necessary information. 

Probate Records

Probate records usually contain the information of a will concerning an heir, their relationship to the deceased, and where they live. It may also include itemized possessions, including their worth or net value. A will is a private record until someone requests to make it public through a probate grant. 

Once a will becomes a probate record, it becomes available to the public. Anyone interested in having a record of the will may do so upon public request. Some probate records are available online at the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD). If not, a requester may find it through the circuit clerk of the county where the probate record is available. 

While almost all types of Illinois court records are available to the public, some are not available for public inspection, like adoption records and juvenile records. 

Illinois has an online portal system re:SearchIL to help the public look up court records in the state and a mandatory e-filing system for civil cases under the Supreme Court order M.R. 18368

Using the online search platform, re:SearchIL, the public can access non-confidential court records under these categories:

  • Law
  • Tax
  • Arbitration
  • Eminent domain
  • Municipal corporation

Another method to access court records online is through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). This gives the public docket and case information on district and bankruptcy courts and also the federal appellate. The public can also use third-party sites that provide court record information in Illinois.

In case an Illinois state court record is not available online, the public must request the public record in person by visiting the office of the clerk and fill the necessary request forms. In-person requests are free of charge for a single case inquiry as long as no hardcopy prints of the case are involved. Multiple case record requests come with a fee and will be approved by the Chief Judge. 

For mail requests, the public must provide detailed and specific information to help with the record search of Illinois court records like the following:

  • Case number
  • Jurisdiction or division of filing
  • Filing date 
  • name/s of parties involved

The following fees also apply for mail requests of state court records in Illinois:

  • Record per year search - $6.00
  • Reproduction fee - $2.00 for the first page, $0.50 for the next 19 pages, and $0.25 for any additional pages. Note that hardcopy prints must not exceed $10.00.
  • Certified copy of judgment - $10.00

The mailing fees, including postage, must not exceed $10.00 following the Clerk of Courts Act Section 27.1b. Requestors can pay by cash or certified cheques.

Counties in Illinois

Courts in Illinois

Cook County Circuit Court50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL
DuPage County Circuit Court505 North County Farm Road, Wheaton, IL
Lake County Circuit Court18 North County Street, Waukegan, IL
Will County Circuit Court14 W. Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL
Kane County Circuit Court540 Randall Rd, St, Charles, IL
McHenry County Circuit Court2200 North Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL
Winnebago County Circuit Court400 West State Street, Rockford, IL
Madison County Circuit Court155 N. Main Street, Edwardsville, IL
Champaign County Circuit Court101 East Main Street, Urbana, IL
Sangamon County Circuit Court200 South 9th Street, Springfield, IL