A commission created by the Illinois Supreme Court is seeking public comments on forms intended to help make the court process easier for litigants in civil cases.
The Access to Justice Commission announced this week that its Forms Committee --one of seven standing committees it set up after being established in June 2012—seeks comments on proposed name change forms and instructions.
The proposed forms can be found online at www.IllinoisCourts.gov/Forms/forms.asp.
Those seeking to submit comments can do so electronically on the same website. The 45-day public comment window began Wednesday and ends Nov. 23.
Once that period ends, the Forms Committee will consider public comments and if needed, make any changes before approving the forms.
And once the forms are finalized, a news release from the high court states that the forms will be available for use by litigants in civil cases electronically or in paper form that all of the state’s judicial circuits must accept.
The Supreme Court created the Access to Justice Commission in June 2012 based on the recommendation of Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride in an attempt to help remove barriers and increase the ease of using courts by those who can’t afford to hire lawyers to represent them.
In November 2012, the release states, the high court adopted a rule “that authorized the Commission to establish a process to create standardized and legally sufficient forms using ‘plain language’ for areas of the law where the Commission determines there is a high volume of pro se litigants.”
The proposed forms currently on the Illinois Courts website deal with name changes, but according to the release, Danielle E. Hirsch, executive director of the Commission, said more draft forms will be posted to the website for public comment in the coming weeks.
Those soon-to-be added draft forms will deal with divorce, expungement, sealing, orders of protection and other procedural forms.
First District Appellate Court Justice Mary K. Rochford and Michael A. Fiello, managing attorney at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, serve as co-chairs of the Forms Committee.
Jeffrey D. Colman, a partner at Jenner & Block, serves as the chairman of the 11-member Access to Justice Commission.
The Supreme Court appointed seven of those 11 members and the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation each appointed one.
Both the commission and its Forms Committee are made up of volunteers.