close banner

Illinois Court Records

state records colored logo
Instant Accessto State, County and Municipal Public Records
search includes Arrest Records
Arrest Records
search includes Vital Records
Vital Records
search includes Criminal Records
Criminal Records
search includes Contact Details
Contact Details
search includes Jail & Inmate Records
Jail & Inmate Records
search includes Property Records
Property Records
search includes Traffic Violations
Traffic Violations
search includes Business Ownership
Business Ownership
search includes Bankruptcies
search includes Unclaimed Assets
Unclaimed Assets
search includes Liens & Judgments
Liens & Judgments
search includes Registered Licenses
Registered Licenses
search includes Arrest Records
Arrest Records
search includes Bankruptcies
search includes Property Records
Property Records
search includes Criminal Records
Criminal Records
search includes Liens & Judgments
Liens & Judgments
search includes Business Ownership
Business Ownership
search includes Jail & Inmate Records
Jail & Inmate Records
search includes Vital Records
Vital Records
search includes Unclaimed Assets
Unclaimed Assets
search includes Traffic Violations
Traffic Violations
search includes Contact Details
Contact Details
search includes Registered Licenses
Registered Licenses is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). You understand and acknowledge that these reports are NOT “consumer reports” as defined by the FCRA. Your access and use of a report is subject to our Terms of Service and you expressly acknowledge that you are prohibited from using this service and this report to determine an individual’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment or any other purpose regulated by the FCRA.

Are Illinois Court Records Public?

Yes, most court records are public in Illinois. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), citizens have the right to request access to non-confidential court records in the state without necessarily stating the request's purpose. 705 Ill. Comp. Stat. 105/16, a statute enacted by the State, makes all records filed with the Circuit Court clerk presumptively open to the public. Interested parties may access docket information, the pleadings and motions of the parties to a lawsuit, decisions, and court orders, evidence introduced in court by either side, and transcripts of hearings. Interested residents can request these court records, except if the court or state law authorizes the denial of access. Illinois courts are authorized to limit public access to certain records, such as juvenile and adoption records.

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1989 and was recently updated in 2010. The latest update, which became effective in 2012, greatly strengthened the act, requiring each public agency to appoint an officer as the custodian of public records. The officer must also complete an online training course established by the attorney general's office as part of the requirements for maintaining public records.

What Shows Up on an Illinois Court Records Search

Illinois court records provide information on court events, activities, and outcomes. According to the Illinois Supreme Court Rule, court records are the proper documentation of information and data collected during a civil or criminal proceeding in a Circuit, Appellate, or Supreme court.

A court record search can be carried out for personal (as in the case of a background check), research, educational, or legal purposes. It enables one to obtain information about a case. The collection and management of court records also serve judicial purposes in the case of an appeal. It also ensures that the judicial system is responsible and accountable.

Court records are made available by the Office of the Circuit Clerk and a government-approved private vendor in Illinois. Members of the public can conduct an Illinois court record search in-person, online, or by phone call. These searches can be conducted by party name, case type/subtype, date of birth, name of the record keeper, etc. While state law provides for public access to court records, selected records are exempt from public disclosure. In addition, some confidential or sensitive information may be excluded from the remote access options available to researchers.

How Do I Find Court Records in Illinois?

The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in Illinois is to identify the custodian of the particular record needed. Generally, court clerks are charged with the responsibility of maintaining court records in the state. This is specified in the Clerks of Courts Acts (705 ILCS 105/). The State Court Clerk's office maintains the Supreme Court and Appellate Courts' records, while the Court Clerk in each county keeps circuit Courts records.

To access court records in Illinois, requests can be made in person or by mail. For a mail-in request, send a written request instructing the Court Clerk to mail copies of the record to the address provided. A stamped, self-addressed envelope and valid I.D. must be included in a mail-in request. For an in-person request, visit the courthouse where the case was tried and apply for the record. Courts usually have an application to fill out for such requests. Requests may also be submitted to the Office of the Supreme Court Clerk (which serves as the central repository for court records in the state) located at:

The Supreme Court Building
200 E. Capitol
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 782-2035
TDD (217) 524-8132
Office Hours: 8:30 – 4:30

To make record retrieval easier and faster, applicants' requests must be detailed, clear, and specific. All relevant information that can aid record searches must be indicated. For better results, include the case number, department/division/jurisdiction where the case was filed, filing date and year, and the names of the parties involved. Generally, juvenile and adoption court records are confidential and cannot be requested by the public.

Illinois Court Records Public Access

Some Illinois court records are also available online. In 2016, the Supreme Court entered an Order M.R. 183 36 mandating all three tiers of courts in Illinois to file civil cases electronically through an e-filing system called e-FileIL. By 2018, the court implemented a document repository, re:SearchIL, where users can remotely access cases from all Illinois courts that e-file (Supreme, Appellate, and Circuit Courts) using a secure login. Parties to a case e-filed through eFileIL can log in to re:SearchIL using their eFileIL login credentials. New applicants must request access to use the online search portal.

In Illinois, court clerks are authorized to charge nominal fees for record search services. Section 27.1b subsection L-Q (Circuit court clerk fees) of the Clerks of Courts Acts (705 ILCS 105/) itemizes the following fees a clerk can charge:

  • Mailing - To mail documents, the fee shall not exceed $10, including the postage cost.
  • The fee for a certified copy of the judgment must not exceed $10 after the first copy.
  • Reproduction - The fee for the reproduction of any document in the clerk's files shall be $2 for the first page, 50 cents per page for the next 19 pages, and 25 cents per page for all additional pages.
  • Record Search - The fee for record search within a division or municipal district shall be $6 per year searched.
  • Hard copy - The fee for each page of hard copy print output must not exceed $10.
  • Index inquiry and other records - No fee shall be charged for a single case record inquiry made in person, requiring no hard copy print output. According to the guidelines for access and dissemination of information approved by the Supreme Court, the fees for management records, multiple case records, and multiple journal records may be specified by the Chief Judge.

Fees are payable to the court clerk by cash, money, and certified cheques. Also, some counties offer a Judici E-Pay to make payments on closed cases with an outstanding balance.

Illinois Court Structure

How to Conduct an Illinois Court Record Search by Name

Members of the public interested in performing a court record search by name can visit the web page maintained by the Illinois Association of Court Clerks or the Office of the Circuit Clerk. The Illinois Association of Court Clerks provides a list of all the counties from which one can select the county where the case was handled. When a county is selected, a page containing the details of the clerk including a link to the webpage of the Office of the Clerk would be displayed. Clicking on the link provided would take one to the website maintained by the Office of the Clerk where one can carry out a name search.

An inquirer can as well directly check the webpage of the Office of the Circuit Clerk of the county where the case was filed. The Office of the Court Clerk provides and maintains an online case information management system that allows members of the public to access court records. For instance, those interested in searching for a court record in Lake County can check the Clerk of the Court's website. One can conduct a case record search by a person/business name on the web page. Under the name search option, the researcher will be required to input the first and last name of the plaintiff/offender. Other information required includes the date of birth of the offender, the case group, case status, and the case filing date.

Please note that depending on the county, interested persons can carry out a court record search for free or at a fee.

One can as well visit the courthouse where a case was filed in-person to perform a search by providing a name of a party involved in a case to the clerk at the courthouse. Some courthouses also provide an electronic case management system terminal within the courthouse where interested persons can carry out a record search.

How to Get Court Records Online for Free

Out of the 102 counties in Illinois, 81 counties are subscribed to a government-approved private vendor which provides a free record search on the web page of the Office of the Circuit Court. Interested members of the public can access the court records of these counties via this website. For instance, those in Brown County can check the Circuit Clerk's webpage and click on the 'public record' option to perform a record search. Please bear in mind that one would be required to have an account with the vendor to access court case records.

Counties that are not subscribed to the approved private vendors provide a case management system from which one can access a record. Depending on the county, this could be online, via phone, or in person. Generally, information regarding accessing or obtaining a record is provided on the website maintained by the Office of the Court Clerk.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, court records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

Types of Courts in Illinois

The Illinois judicial system has three types of courts (the Circuit Court/Trial Court, the Appellate Court, and The Supreme Court.) within its geographical jurisdiction.

The state of Illinois has 23 judicial circuits, including the Cook County District Courts. These circuit courts are under the 102 counties located in Illinois, with one circuit court attributed to 12 counties per circuit. The circuit court has the authority to handle all cases except for cases that are under the authority of the supreme court by law.

The appellate court in Illinois has 5 judicial districts, of which Cook County is the first district. While the other 4 judicial districts have overlapping jurisdictions within the rest of the county. Court cases are usually appealed to the Appellate Court in the district containing the Circuit Court where the case was filed.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judicial system in Illinois. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases, receives appeals from the Appellate court, and only appeals from the Circuit Court that concern a case with a death sentence verdict.

What Shows Up on Illinois Judgment Records?

Judgment records in Illinois are created when the court makes a decision on contested issues in a case. However, the information contained in judgment records varies with case type. A typical judgment record in Illinois contains:

  • The names of the parties.
  • A brief description of the complaint or charges.
  • The judge's name.
  • The court's judgment per charge

A judgment is a decree or order issued by a presiding judge and compelling an individual to fulfill contractual responsibilities, as typically seen in civil cases, or to pay penalties for an offense, as in criminal cases. This order only becomes binding when the court clerk enters it into the court record, making it a judgment record.

Illinois judgment records are public records per the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Thus, any member of the public who can identify the record custodian, provide the necessary details to facilitate a search, and cover administrative fees, can obtain a copy. To do this, visit the court that issued the judgment. There, provide the case number, litigants' names, and judgment year to help administrative staff identify and retrieve the court record. Meanwhile, individuals involved in the case may obtain digital copies of court records, including judgment records, on the online central repository.

Are Illinois Bankruptcy Records Public?

Illinois bankruptcy records are the documentation filed in court by individuals unable to clear the debt. They contain information such as tax returns, income documentation, proof of real estate fair market value, mortgage statements, vehicle registration, and bank account statements. Residents can file for bankruptcy at either the middle district, northern district, and southern district bankruptcy courts. The main disadvantage of declaring bankruptcy is that it leaves debtors with a negative credit history, making it difficult to borrow money in the future.

Note: Bankruptcy does not completely eliminate debt. Certain debts, such as government loans, student loans, taxes, and child support, are not excluded.

Bankruptcy records and related documents such as Illinois liens, writs, and foreclosures can be made accessible to interested and eligible members of the public on request. However, the requesting party may be required to provide information about the record of interest and cover the cost of research duplication (if applicable).

How to Find Bankruptcy Records in Illinois

According to the Illinois State Record Act, bankruptcy records are deemed public property and are readily made available to the general public unless a record is confidential or sealed. It is relevant to note that bankruptcy cases are only handled in a bankruptcy court and are governed by federal laws.

The various Bankruptcy District courts in Illinois manage an electronic case filing system via PACER that provides bankruptcy information to registered individuals. For example, individuals looking to find a bankruptcy case filed in the Northern District of Illinois can do so on the website. A fee for using PACER only applies if an inquirer uses more than $30 worth of service per quarter.

Requesters interested in obtaining bankruptcy records before 1988 can only make such requests in person or by mail from the Federal Record Center. Such an inquirer will need to provide information such as,

  • The case file number
  • The Federal Record Center accession number
  • The box number
  • The case file name
  • The Federal Record Center location number

Can You Look Up Court Cases in Illinois?

Yes, members of the public may perform Illinois court case lookups remotely. Illinois civil cases are mostly available online via the e-FileIL. To access these e-records, requestors must log in to re:SearchIL, a secure cross-jurisdictional web portal powered by the e-filing database. It is a platform where users can remotely look up court cases from all Illinois courts (Supreme, Appellate, and Circuit Courts) that e-file. Interested requestors must register online to get secure login details. Parties to a case e-filed with eFileIL can login to re:SearchIL using their eFileIL login credentials. New applicants must request access to use the online search portal. Current case summaries and oral argument webcasts are also accessible on the Illinois courts website.

In some counties, requesters can look up court case records online through name search or case number search. Such sites offer basic information about the parties involved in a case and docket entries, giving information about what happened in the case on each court date. also offers online court records for more than 60 counties in Illinois, while several counties have their search portals. For instance, the Online Case Search on the Cook County Circuit Clerk webpage allows searches on various cases, including civil, probate, chancery, domestic relations, traffic ticket, election, and tax matters. However, it does not provide online access to criminal court cases.

Looking Up Illinois Court Case Records: Exemptions

In accordance with 5 ILCS 140 section 7, the judicial system of Illinois has the authority to black out/remove exempted information contained in court case records. Exempted case records include:

  • Case records that are impounded, are records that are accessible to only the parties in the case, for example, juvenile records of an individual that has served parole and undergone counseling
  • Confidential case records are case records accessible to the parties filing the case or submitting the documents e.g records of the financial agreement in a divorce case.
  • Cases that are expunged, are records that are only available at court order, according to section 5.2(E) of the criminal identification Act 20 ILCS 2630
  • Cases that are sealed, are records that are obtained only by court order e.g records of adoption.

These types of records are not accessible to members of the public.

How to Find a Court Docket in Illinois

Members of the public can access the court docket by visiting the Illinois state court web page.

  • click on the court option at the top of the menu
  • select dockets and briefs from the drop-down list

A page will be displayed, scroll down and

  • Click on the archive book docket button

The researcher is provided with the option to narrow down the search by the term of the docket, call of the dockets, or docket book archive.

An Illinois court docket is a summary of a court case proceeding and filing. The court clerk issues every case a docket number immediately after the lawsuit is filed in a courthouse. This court docket aids interested persons in knowing the status of a case. They also serve as guides in similar court cases and can be used for research purposes.

The Illinois court dockets contain information such as the name and address of the complainant/offender, the location of the courthouse, the date of appearance of the litigants before the court, the name of the presiding judge, and the name of the attorney/defendant, etc.

Civil vs. Small Claims Courts in Illinois Understanding the Difference?

Illinois Civil Courts decide lawsuits that involve conflicts between people and businesses, mostly over money. Cases usually involve personal injury, property damage, defamation, breach of contract, and landlord and tenant disputes. Civil court cases usually involve damages up to $25,000. Civil courts have special units set up to decide small claims.

The Illinois Small Claims Court is a civil court where residents can sue one another for damages not beyond $10,000. Illinois Small Claims Courts are set up under the Clerks of Courts' jurisdiction Act (705 ILCS 105). They have simplified rules and are designed to help residents settle small legal controversies involving money without the cumbersome legal process and expense required by a regular civil court. Residents are allowed to bring their lawsuits to a small claims court without attorney representation, but they must pay filing costs and must be 18 years old or more (the court requires a guardian for litigants under 18 years). Filing fees depend on the claims demanded but are generally not beyond $250 in Illinois.

Jo daviess
Rock Island
St. Clair