COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Text Messaging Approved for Illinois Courts

December 9.

The Illinois Supreme Court approved a new rule which authorizes any Illinois court to develop and use a text message notification system.

Amended Rule 14 is effective immediately and the full text of the rule can be viewed here.

This is part of an effort by the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt rules which utilize technology and provide access to the courts during the pandemic.  The closing of the courts earlier in 2020 forced lawyers and the courts to embrace technology to keep the wheels of justice moving.   The rules are intended to permit communication with lawyers and the public safely without interpersonal contact.

The Text Messaging Programs will not replace or serve as a substitute for any notification required by Supreme Court Rules.   And a refusal to participate in the Program will not be used against the lawyer or litigant.   And the phone numbers collected will not be made part of the public record and cannot be used for any other purpose than notifications.

This will make it easier for lawyers to be kept up to date on the status of cases or last minute changes in court times or courtrooms.  The pandemic has accelerated the acceptance and use of technology in the legal industry, which has been slow to utilize technology in the practice and in the court rooms.