Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Illinois Supreme Court Announces Public Domain Citation System

The Illinois Supreme Court announced a new way of officially citing its case and those of the Illinois Appellate Court. The new citation system is required because the Court will no longer publish the official opinions in bound volumes.  The new method of citation goes into effect July 1, 2011, when the current contract for printing the advance sheets and bound volumes of court opinions expires.  From that point forward, the only place to find the entire body of Illinois case law will be online.  

These changes direct the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court to assign at the time of filing a public-domain case designator number, as well as internal paragraph numbers to all opinions and Rule 23 orders. While the rule changes require official citation to the public-domain numbering and paragraph scheme, they continue to allow parallel citations to the unofficial regional reporters such as the North East Reporter and Illinois Decisions.

An example of a Supreme Court citation under the new system would look like this:
People v Doe, 2011 IL 102345, ¶15.
This shows the name of the case, 2011 as the year of decision, the Illinois Supreme Court as the court of decision, 102345 as the court-assigned identifier number which is the docket number of the case, and a pinpoint reference to the 15th paragraph in the opinion.

An example of a Third Distirct Appellate Court decision would look like this:
People v. Doe, 2011 IL App (3d), 101234, ¶15.
In the Appellate Court, the unique identifier number would consist of the last six digits of the docket number.  Unpublished orders filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 will have the letter “U” appended to the unique-identifier number. Rule 23 orders will still be posted to the Court’s web site.

The Supreme Court's press release can be read HERE.

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