The Bar News

Supreme Court raises law license, certification fees

For the first time in nearly a century, the fees to obtain an Illinois law license and to certify documents will increase next year.

The Illinois Supreme Court approved these fee increases and other amendments to Rule 313 during its November Term. The increases will take effect July 1, 2016.

The rule change will mark the first time since 1919 that the initial law license and official certification and seal fees have increased. It will also place all fees for reviewing courts into a single location within the Supreme Court Rules.

Under a 2013 law, fees collected by the Clerks of the Supreme and Appellate Courts are set by Supreme Court rule, rather than by statute. Funds collected from these fees are deposited into the "Supreme Court Special Purposes Fund," which is used to supplement the costs associated with the Court's commitment to e-business initiatives, including the streamlining and upgrading of the case management system used by reviewing courts in Illinois.

As authorized by Public Act 98-0324, the Supreme Court has amended Rule 313 to raise the fee to obtain an initial law license from $5 to $50 and the fee to certify documents in the state's reviewing courts from $1 to $5.
Prior to the rule amendment, Illinois had one of the lowest law license fees in the country. The rule change will bring Illinois' fees in line with what other states charge for similar services.

In addition, the Supreme Court created new and separate fees to obtain a replacement law license and an attorney certificate of good standing. A replacement law license will cost $25 and an attorney certificate of good standing will cost $15, with each additional certificate costing $5.

Prior to the rule change, the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's Office charged the same $5 fee for an initial law license as it did for a replacement law license and the same $1 fee to certify documents as it did for an attorney certificate of good standing.

The Supreme Court also amended Rule 313 to make it easier for practitioners and pro se filers to locate fees for reviewing courts.

Under the rule amendment, copy fees currently governed by an administrative order were moved into Rule 313 so all fees for reviewing courts in Illinois are in a single location. The copy fee remains unchanged at 25 cents per page.

In regards to copy fees, the rule change clarifies that clerks of reviewing courts shall charge no fee for
copies of papers made using personal equipment such as a portable scanner or camera. The amended rule
requires the clerk's prior permission and prohibits automatic feed features or stack feeders on scanners.

Amended Rule 313 also clarifies that any nonparty who files documents in cases, such as motions for leave
to file an amicus curiae or friend of the court brief, must pay $30 to do so. This is not a new or increased
fee. The addition of this language will simply bring the rule in line with the current practice of court clerks.

The language of the Amended Rule 313 and all of the Supreme Court rules can be found on the Court's website at

Posted on December 7, 2015 by Chris Bonjean
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