Illinois Bar Journal

November 1998Volume 86Number 11Page 641

Thank you for viewing this Illinois Bar Journal article. Please join the ISBA to access all of our IBJ articles and archives.

Finding Illinois Law

Researching Illinois Court Rules

It's not hard to find the latest state and Illinois-based federal court rules . . . if you know where to look.

To escape extinction, attorneys have to know where to find the rules that regulate the conduct of business before the courts, and in Illinois, that means state, federal, local, and bankruptcy court rules. None of these are too terribly hard to find, but then neither are bugs, and you know how the state bird population has been dropping. So, just to be on the safe side, here's where you'll find them.

Rules and more rules

Illinois Court Rules govern all legal actions before state courts. In addition to the Illinois Supreme Court rules, the following are published in the ``Court Rules'' volume of the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

• Rules of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission

• Rules of Procedure for the Board of Admissions to the Bar and Committees on Character and Fitness

• Appellate Rules of the First District

• Uniform Administrative and Procedural Rules, Appellate Courts, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Districts

• Illinois Supreme Court Rules are online at

In addition to the state court rules, individual courts may be affected by local court rules specific only to themselves. The clerk of the court in question can tell you what, if any, rules have been adopted by that particular court. Also, the full text of each court's local rules can be found in West Publishing's Illinois Court Rules and Procedure, a new two-volume annual set which includes all court rules which apply to courts physically within the state of Illinois (federal, state, local, and bankruptcy). This set includes all the above-listed rules, as well as the following:

• United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Court

• Rules of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

• Bankruptcy Rules for the United States District Court and The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois

• Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

• Rules of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois

• Local Rules of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois

• Rules of Procedure of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

• Federal Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedules

Keeping current

The Illinois State Bar Association proposed uniform circuit court rules in 1976. These were adopted in full or in part by many of the circuit courts, and are available as the Illinois Rules and Practice Handbook (3d ed, Pantagraph Press, Bloomington, 1982). This looseleaf volume includes supreme and appellate court rules (including committee comments for the Supreme Court Rules ), the Code of Civil Procedure, Court of Claims Act and Rules, the Crime Victims Compensation Act, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and other helpful related materials, such as fees, maps, and addresses. Updating pages are mailed promptly to subscribers as amendments occur.

Judicial amendments to the rules are published as they are received in the advance sheets listed in the sidebar on page 642.

Lexis includes the rules in its statute database (IL-STAT and IL-Stat-Ann), and Westlaw provides rules (IL-RULES) and orders (IL-ORDERS) databases (the update key automatically runs the search you just ran in the rules database in the orders database, which retrieves judicial amendments to the rule in question.)

Interpreting the rules

Cases interpreting Illinois court rules can be located using an annotated version of the ILCS court rules volume, by Shepardizing a rule by its citation in Shepard's Illinois Citations Statute Edition, or by using the citation as a search term in a case database, such as those available on Lexis, Westlaw, or Illinois Law on Disk. Cases interpreting local court rules cannot, of course, be found through Shepard's Citations by citation, since the local court rules are not included in the statutes or Shepard's coverage thereof, but the other approaches still work. Cases can also often be found by searching the Illinois Digest under the nearest indexed subject term.

For an encyclopedic commentary source on the rules, try Illinois Practice (vol 4), which offers a table of rules that refers you to points in the text dealing with specific rules. The ``Circuit'' volumes of Lawyers Co-op's Federal Procedure Rules Service offers a ``Comparator,'' which compares the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to the court rules for each state within the circuit. There are also ``State Correlation Tables'' in the ``Finding Aids'' volume of the same service.

Rule-by-rule comparisons of federal and state evidence provisions are also available in Gregory P. Joseph & Stephen A. Saltzburg, Evidence in America: The Federal Rules in the States (4 vols, Michie, 1987-date).

Several general collections may be useful in figuring out applications and interactions of procedural rules, even though they do not address Illinois rules specifically. Perhaps chief among these are Am Jur's Trials and Proof Facts, and Shepard's Cause Causes of Action. Ask your law librarian — he or she will know where to find these things. We always know....


Jean McKnight is a computer services/reference librarian and associate professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Rule Amendments
Amendments to the rules listed on the right appear in the advance sheets listed on the left.
Rules Advance Sheets
• State rules and local federal district and bankruptcy court rules North Eastern 2d
Illinois Decisions
Illinois Edition of North Eastern 2d

• Federal rules of appellate procedure Federal Reporter 3d
Federal Supplement
Supreme Court Reporter
Federal Rules Decisions
Bankruptcy Reporter

• U.S. Court of Appeals rules (7th Circuit) Federal Reporter 3d
Illinois Decisions
Illinois Edition of North Eastern 2d
Indiana Cases
Wisconsin Reporter

• Rules of procedure of the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation Federal Reporter 3d
Federal Supplement
Federal Rules Decisions

• Federal court miscellaneous fee schedules Federal Reporter 3d
Federal Supplement
Supreme Court Reporter




At the December 12, 1998 meeting of the ISBA Assembly, two at-large delegates to the ABA House of Delegates will be elected, one from Cook County and one from the area outside Cook County (referred to as downstate), from nominees from the appropriate area areas. The nominees for these positions must be members of the ISBA in good standing. The elected delegates will serve for two-year terms commencing June 28, 1999 and will join the ISBA delegation at the ABA meeting in August 1999.

At-large delegates are elected biennially. The current incumbents are George R. Ripplinger, Jr. of Belleville and Donald C. Schiller of Chicago. Both incumbents are eligible for re-election.

Nominations must be made in writing by at least 20 members in good standing from the appropriate area. Nominations must be filed with the office of the Executive Director not earlier than October 22, 1998 and not later than November 20, 1998. Further information and nominating petitions are available from the office of the Executive Director, Illinois Bar Center, Springfield, IL 62701 or by calling Karen Davidson at (800) 252-8908.



Login to post comments