Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered here, please go to: Illinois Courts FAQs or contact us at info@fileandservexpress.com

Cook County

What is the process for Summons?

  1. 1. Delivering the Summons to the Sheriff is now your responsibility. The court no longer delivers it for you*
  2. 2. The filer must complete and upload the summons. Upload the initial summons as a lead document using the filing code Summons Issued and Returnable
  3. 3. The Summons will be returned to you in the Accepted email and will be located in the Transaction Summary; the file-stamped copy will be under the Stamped Document column in the Transaction Summary
  4. *Our partner ATG Legal Serve can assist with delivery of a Summons. You will upload Summons with your request. https://www.atglegalserve.com/

What is the average time for a clerk to return your eFiled documents?

  • This will depend on the clerk’s workload. You will be able to see the “real-time” status of your transaction under the Transaction Summary in the Document section

What date will be file-stamped on my document(s)?

  • The date you submit your document(s) will be the file-stamped date if the clerk accepts your document(s)

Do I file my Order?

  • How orders are handled would be a Division by Division answer but at this time it would be conventional. Orders are not returned via eFiling at this time. They also are not eFiled at this time. These processes will most likely change when the Civil areas of law move to a new case management system next year

If I am a Pro Se filer, do I have to eFile?

  • While eFiling is mandatory for everyone, a Pro Se filer may qualify for an exemption to eFile so you can file in paper. The Exemption form is available here:
  • http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/Forms/pdf_files/EWC3401-1.pdf
  • Reasons Considered for Exemption:
    • • I am representing myself and do not have the Internet or a computer in my home
    • • My only access is through a public terminal at a courthouse, library, or other location
    • • This poses a financial or other hardship
    • • I am representing myself and have a disability that prevents me from eFiling
    • • I am representing myself and have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English
    • • I am filing a document in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order
  • Pro Se filers will have to use the Cross Reference Number/Attorney Code of 95000 if they are eFiling

Is there a specific method I have to use to eFile?

  • You can use an Electronic Filing & Service Provider (EFSP) such as File & Serve Illinois. This is accessed via the URL, www.fileandserveillinois.com and can be accessed any time/any where as long as you have your computer and access to the internet

Do I have to have an email address to eFile?

How do I pay my court fees?

  • File & Serve Illinois offers monthly billing upon qualification. We will pay the court fees for you and then put it on your monthly invoice. There will also be a convenience fee from the eFiling Manager, along with a $2.99 fee for File & Serve Illinois. Please note you can pay your monthly invoice via ACH, check, or credit card. If you do not utilize monthly billing, the eFiling Manager does require a credit card. You cannot use American Express

Who will be able to view the case documents?

  • All case parties, including judges and clerks, will be able to view the documents anytime/anywhere via re:SearchIL. This is in the process of being built. We will continue to update as the information is available

Who will maintain the service lists?

Am I able to bulk file?

  • Not at this time

What is the Cross Reference field?

  • The Cross-Reference Number field is available to provide the court with additional data, as required for certain case types such as expungements and tax. Filers will also use the field for entering a Cook County Attorney Code, which is required for all Cook County filings except those in the County Division

How can I avoid rejections?

  • There are many reasons why a document may be rejected. The reason for rejection from the clerk will be listed on the “Filing Rejected” notification from the eFiling Manager and in the Transaction Summary. Please refer to the Supreme Court newsletter on how to avoid rejections

What happens if I accidentally file into the wrong court division?

  • Please contact the court clerk to find out what options might be available

What happens if my document(s) is returned or rejected?

  • You will be notified by the eFiling manager via email. On the Completed Filings page you will see a red “return arrow” that you can click to resubmit the filing

How do I reset my password?

  • Go to the login page and select “Forgot Password” and follow the prompts

How do I spindle a motion?

  • 1. eFile your Notice of Motion and Motion as separate lead documents in the same transaction.*
  • 2. Select the “Request Hearing Date” button located in the envelope ID pop-up immediately after submission. The requested hearing date will be located in your Transaction Summary under Case Type. Please note you can only request a hearing date if the filing is in the “submitted” status.
    • *The date and time in your Notice of Motion should be left blank. Once the clerk accepts the filing, the hearing date will be located in the “Filing Accepted” email and stamped on the file-stamped document. The document(s) will/can be served after acceptance.
      Please note if the date and time on the “Filing Accepted” email and the document differ, please: (1) follow the date and time on the “Filing Accepted” email, (2) fill in the date and time on the Notice of Motion, and (3) serve your document(s).**
    • **The eFiling Manager has been notified of this discrepancy and is actively working on it.
      Please refer to our webcast video, “How to Spindle a Motion in Cook County” for more detailed information.

What happens if there is a question when something is filed? What can be used as proof of filing?

  • Your email notification from the eFiling manager, “Filing Submitted” is evidence of filing along with your envelope ID. Additionally, you can print the “Transaction Summary” under your

Am I am able to eServe my documents?

  • You have the option in an existing case to “File Only,” “File & Serve,” and “Serve Only”. Parties will often stipulate to eServe discovery documents (“Serve Only”) via File & Serve Illinois because of the security, traceable, trackable features, including the indefinite document storage.

Once a hearing date is selected, who will be notified?

  • The filer will be notified via the email notification “Filing Accepted” from the eFiling Manager. The Hearing Date will be “stamped” on the document. Other case parties are notified after the documents are accepted and then served.
    • Note: The date and time in your Notice of Motion should be left blank. Once the clerk accepts the filing, the hearing date will be located in the “Filing Accepted” email and stamped on the file-stamped document. The document(s) will/can be served after acceptance.
    • Please note if the date and time on the “Filing Accepted” email and the document differ, please: (1) follow the date and time on the “Filing Accepted” email, (2) fill in the date and time on the Notice of Motion, and (3) serve your document(s).**
    • **The eFiling Manager has been notified of this discrepancy and is actively working on it.

How can I inform my legal team of the transaction / document submission?

  • There are three ways your legal team can view the documents:
  • (1) You can include their email addresses (separated by a “,” and a space) in the “Send Accepted Notifications To:” field under Step 3-Documents;
  • (2) they can log into File & Serve Illinois with their own login credentials and go to the “Completed Filings” button under the “Filing” drop-down menu. From there, under the filer “Sort By,” select “My Firm’s Filings” and select “Go.” The transaction will be listed. They would then click on the “eyeball” icon to view the documents submitted, the real-time status of the transaction, including the file-stamped document; and/or
  • (3) create an Outlook rule to have all emails from no-reply@tylerhost.net to be auto-forwarded to those specified.

Do I need to protect my documents with a password?

  • No, you cannot “password protect” your document(s)

How do I file a new case in Cook County? Who delivers the summons?

What is the “Return Date” feature on Step 3-Documents?

    • Cook County requires to pick a Return Date for all filings. Screen shots are below. Additional work by the eFiling Manager and Cook County is being done related to this feature in efforts to make it necessary only when required during the filing
    • Please also refer to our webcast video, “How to File Into an Existing Case (Cook County)

How do I file into Probate cases?

How do I search for my case to file into it?

  • In Cook County, you’ll search by case number. File & Serve Illinois displays the “Preferred Case Format” under the search field. Screen shot below. Also, please use upper case letters.

The court clerk and my legal colleagues told me I had to use Odyssey to eFile? Is that true?

  • No. eFilers can select any electronic filing and service vendor/portal of their choice. The court clerks are trained on Odyssey, the eFiling Manager’s electronic filing and service portal. All jurisdictions must be connected to the eFiling Manager – Odyssey eFile IL.

How long will my documents be stored on File & Serve Illinios?

  • Because we are a document repository, all documents are stored indefinitely

How will I be notified of my filings?

  • The eFiling Manager, Odyssey eFile IL, will send all notifications to the filer (i.e., who submitted the filing) via email from the email address, no-reply@tylerhost.net Please make sure this is on your “safe sender” list.
  • The notifications will be, “Filing Submitted,” “Filing Accepted,” Filing Rejected,” and “Filing Returned.”

How do I file a routine motion?

Registration

Do I need a login to file documents?

What are the technical requirements to use the File & Serve Illinois website?

  • A computer (either PC or Mac) with internet access.
  • A scanner: this is not required but recommended if you need to scan paper documents.
  • An internet connection and a browser. Currently, only Internet Explorer (Version 6 or greater) is supported.
  • To view case documents, you need to download and install Adobe Reader. This free reader can be downloaded from Adobe’s website.
  • To post documents to the website, they must be in PDF format. We offer FREE PDF conversion of documents.
  • If you need free PDF conversion, you can attach a document(s) in an editable version in “Step 3 – Documents.” The File & Serve Illinois system will automatically convert the document to PDF and will attach both the native format and the PDF format to the transaction. Both formats of the document(s) will be provided for viewing in the “Documents” section of “Step 5 – Review & Submit” prior to submitting the transaction.

Should attorneys register themselves for an account on File & Serve Illinois?

No, registration of attorneys and staff should be handled by a designated Firm Administrator. Please review this Firm Administrator Training Video for details on how to register yourself, firm attorneys, support staff members, and create the firm’s payment account. If attorneys or staff register separately, they will have to be merged into the firm account created by the Firm Administrator. Here are the instructions to request those accounts be merged into a firm account: Steps to Merge Self-Registered Employees.

eFiling

How does electronic filing work?

  • • If you have filed into any Court on the eFileIL system, then you have a user name and password; you can use that user name and password to login to File & Serve Illinois. (This will NOT be the same login as your File & ServeXpress user name.)
  • • If you do not have an eFileIL user name and password, please go to www.fileandserveillinois.com and select Register with E-Mail.
  • • If you are not sure if you have already registered your email, click the “Forgot Password” link and enter it in the Email ID field. If you have not already registered your email, you will receive the following message: No user is registered with that email address.
  • • NOTE FOR NEW REGISTRANTS: the FIRM ADMIN should create an account and register all filers at the firm, which will link all filers to the firm’s account. If a firm member registers individually, it will require eFileIL to merge the accounts.
  • • Consult our File & Serve Illinois Training & Resources page to register for live webinars, view on-demand Training Videos and download step-by-step User Guides: http://fileandservexpress.com/illinois/training
  • • With each filing, you provide the necessary case information and upload your documents. You may file several documents in a filing and each document can have multiple exhibits.
  • • The filing fees will be automatically attached to the filing, and you will pay by credit card. If you choose to register for monthly billing with File & Serve Illinois, you will be billed within thirty (30) days. Please contact Customer Support for details on how to register for monthly billing: 888-529-7587.
  • • File & Serve Illinois is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Consult your local court rules for the court review timelines and schedules. Note: The system may be temporarily offline from time to time for maintenance purposes.
  • • After you file documents, you can also serve the documents electronically onto the registered parties.

What happens after my filing is submitted to the Court?

According to Section 7 of the Supreme Court of Illinois Electronic Filing Procedures and User Manual regarding “Timing of e-filing; mechanics:”

    1. • The EFSP and the EFM are agents of the Court for the purpose of eFiling and receipt of electronic documents. Upon submission of an eFiled document, the EFSP will email to the registered user a transaction confirmation which shall serve as proof of submission.
    1. • A document will be considered timely submitted if eFiled before midnight on or before the date on which the document is due.
    1. • A document submitted electronically after midnight or on a day when the Clerk’s office is not open for business will, unless rejected, be file stamped as filed on the next day the Clerk’s office is open for business.
    1. • An eFiled document submitted to the Clerk for filing shall be deemed filed upon review and acceptance by the Clerk. The filed document shall be endorsed with the clerk’s electronic file mark setting forth, at a minimum, the identification of the Court, the Clerk, the date and the time of filing.
    1. • After the Clerk reviews an eFiled document, the registered user will receive an e-mail notification of the review results.
    1. • In the event the Clerk rejects a submitted document, the document will not be filed and the registered user will receive an electronic notification of the reason(s) for the rejection.
    1. • A document requiring a motion and a Court order allowing its filing that is properly eFiled pursuant to subparagraph d of paragraph 5 of this manual, will be deemed filed on the date the motion is granted.

If an eFiled document is untimely due to a technical failure or a system outage, the registered user may seek appropriate relief from the Court, upon good cause shown.

How do I select the correct document type when I file?

When you file, you are asked to select the type of document you are filing. The Court has hundreds of document types and selecting the correct one can be difficult.

The state is working towards creating a standard configuration which will be adopted by each county in the state. If a filing code that you are looking for is not available, please Contact eFileIL to let them know.

Is eFiling secure?

Yes. The eFileIL system adheres to state and federal security regulations and meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to protect filer and transaction information.

Do you have a list of preferred case number formats for each county?

Yes, click here to download our quick guide for preferred case numbers.

Does the metadata transfer when File & Serve Illinois converts a Word document into a PDF document?

FSIL does not transfer properties in a word.doc file. FSIL does not keep the changes in a “track changes” markup. If a document includes comments that are visible in the document, these visible comments/notes will be included in the PDF conversion – but this is not “metadata.”

eService

Can I serve discovery documents through the File & Serve Illinois website?

Yes, you may submit discovery documents or other serve-only documents to via the File & Serve Illinois website. These documents will be served onto the registered parties in the case and available for viewing on the File & Serve Illinois website. The viewing of discovery documents is restricted to parties in the case with a valid login.

How does eService work?

eService is the service of documents onto parties via the File & Serve Illinois secure and encrypted system. After you submit a document, you can select the eService option to immediately serve the parties or attorneys in the case, electronically.

How do I become part of the eService list in a case?

Each case has a list of “service contacts” who can be selected for eService on any file-and-serve or service-only filing. Filers can add people to the case service contact list by selecting desired recipients from the firm service contact directory or from the Public Service List (when it becomes available, timing from the Illinois Supreme Court is TBD). A service contact is a person for whom an email address and other identifying information has been entered into the eFileIL system by a registered user.

A “firm service contact” is associated in the eFiling system with an attorney, organization, or law firm. A filer can add a firm service contact from their own firm to the service list for a particular case. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you do not see opposing counsel on the Service List for a particular case, the filer cannot add a service contact from another firm, which will associate the service contact to the filer’s firm. Until the Public Service list becomes available, there are two options for serving someone who is not on the service contact list for a case: 1) serve the service contact conventionally (i.e. via U.S. Mail or email); or 2) contact the missing service contact’s firm and ask the firm to add the missing service contact, which will enable the contact to be selected for eService.

A “public service contact” is listed on the Public Service List for purposes of eService.

The “Public Service List” is a directory of public service contacts who are available for eService. For eFileIL, the state has indicated that it will create and maintain the Public Service List via a feed from the Illinois Bar. NOTE: The Public Service List has not yet been approved by the Illinois Supreme Court. Tyler Technologies has indicated the Public Service List will be available by July 1, 2018, but this timing is not yet confirmed.

How do I find someone on the Public Service List?

The Public Service List is not yet available for eFileIL. The Illinois Supreme Court has not yet confirmed when the Public Service List will be available.

Once the Public Service List becomes available, you must be filing in a case in order to search the Public Service List. When adding a service contact to a party on a case, select “Add from public list” from the Actions menu.

Search for the service contact by name, email address, or firm name. Complete names or entries are not required – partial entries are searchable.

Can my colleague (e.g., paralegal or assistant) receive a copy when I am eServed in a case?

Yes, there are multiple ways to do this. For someone to receive a courtesy copy of every filing that is eServed on you, firm administrators may edit a service contact to enter one or more email addresses to receive an “administrative copy” of every document sent to the service contact. For someone to receive a courtesy copy of filings eServed on you on a case-by-case basis, users can add any firm service contact to the service list for a case.

  • Firms may want to have different service contacts for specific practice areas or case types.
  • These service contacts will, by default, receive a copy of every subsequent filing on the case, even filings by other parties

If the attorney is not showing on the service contacts tab, how would I add after the case has been filed?

By starting a mock filing. Upload a test document to your case number. You can then add the attorney to the service contacts tab and associate him/her to party or case. Do not submit filing, just save.

When completing a transaction on File & Serve Illinois, how do I add a Service Contact – and make sure they “stick” to the service list so I don’t have to add them every time I complete a subsequent filing?

Please follow the steps below:

1. Search for your attorney under “Firm Service Contacts”. Enter their First Name, Last Name, and click “Search”.

2. If they populate below, then click “Add To List”.

3. If they populate below, then click “Add To List”.

4. Enter your attorney’s First Name, Last Name, and email address. In the Administrative Copy field, you can enter the support staff email address(es). By doing so, whenever your attorney is served, you will receive a “courtesy” copy of the service notification. To enter the support staff email address(es) in this field is not a required field. Once complete, select “Save”.

5. The attorney will now be added to the service list – AND – under “Firm Service Contacts” so you can easily find them in a future search to add to the service list under “Firm Service Contacts”.

6. Once the attorney is added to the service list, please make sure to “attach” them to the “Case”. To do this, please click on the drop-down menu next to their name.

7. Then, select “Case”.

8. This will ensure they “stick” to the service list so you don’t have to add them every time.

eFiling Rules

Does the Illinois Supreme Court have specific rules regarding eFiling?

Yes, the court issued the Supreme Court of Illinois Electronic Filing Procedures and User Manual: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/EBusiness/Sup_Ct_Efiling/SCt_efiling_user_manual.pdf This Manual was approved June 2, 2017 and became effective July 1, 2017.

Do the Appellate Courts have specific rules and procedures for filing the record on appeal?

Yes, both the Illinois Supreme Court and the Fourth District Appellate Courts have specific rules and procedures for filing the record on appeal. Please review the rules:

Does the eFileIL system has specific standards for formatting documents?

Yes, please review the eFileIL Electronic Document Standards: http://efile.illinoiscourts.gov/documents/eFileIL_Digital-Media-Standards.pdf

What are the Supreme Court’s rules for electronic signatures?

Electronically filed documents that require an original signature when conventionally filed shall bear a facsimile or typographical signature of the attorney or self-represented party authorizing such filing, (e.g. “/s/ Adam Attorney"), and shall be deemed to have been signed in-person by the individual identified. Here a link to the IL Supreme Court’s complete list of Electronic Signature Standards.

General

Will eFiling be required for all case types?

On January 22, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court entered Order M.R. 18368 announcing mandatory electronic filing (eFiling) for civil cases in the Illinois Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Courts.

The following case types are included in the civil category: arbitration, chancery, eminent domain, law, law magistrate, miscellaneous remedy, municipal corporation, small claims, tax, adoption, dissolution, family, mental health, and probate.

eFiling will be available in all case types with the following exceptions:

  • Criminal (CF, CM, DT)
  • Quasi-Criminal (TR, CV, OV)
  • Juvenile (J, JA, JD)

Will eFiling be required for all document types?

All documents regarding civil matters MUST be e-filed, with some exemptions. Supreme Court Rule 9(a). Documents exempt from e-filing are: documents from an incarcerated SRL, wills, juvenile documents filed under the Juvenile Court Ac of 1987, and other documents in a specific case by court order, upon good cause shown. Supreme Court .

How much does it cost to eFile documents?

Initial Service Provider Fee for File & Serve Illinois*:

eFile Only eServe Only eFile & eServe
All cases $2.99/transaction $2.99/transaction $2.99/transaction

*Additional fees charged by the Courts and eFileIL system:

  • Standard Court Filing Fees – contact your local court for information on filing fees.
  • Convenience Fees – eFileIL charges a convenience fee to cover the credit card or eCheck processing fees.

How do I pay for my filings?

  • The eFileIL system requires payment by credit card.
  • During Registration, Firm Administrators can add payment information on the Payment Accounts Tab. For step-by-step guidance, please consult the File & Serve Illinois Registration – Administrator User Guide.
  • If you prefer monthly billing, File & Serve Illinois can accommodate this request. You will be invoiced every thirty (30) days for all costs and fees associated with the filling. Please contact Customer Support for details on how to register for monthly billing: 888-529-7587.
  • If your document is rejected by the Clerk, the Court filing fees and the processing fees are not charged.

How do I update my user profile?

  • Log-in to system at www.fileandserveillinois.com. Click on User Profile dropdown and select “My Information," where you can update your name and email address.
  • To update your password, select “change password” from the dropdown menu.
  • Firm administrators can update credit card information by selecting “Payment Accounts” from the dropdown menu and selecting “Add Account.”

How can I get help with technical problems?

  • You can get client support by contacting File & ServeXpress Support: 888-529-7587. We can be reached 24/7/365.
  • If you are a new user, please register for a training class or read the user guides available on the File & Serve Illinois microsite: http://fileandservexpress.com/Illinois/training