Information for Filers Without Lawyers
If you don’t have a lawyer and need to represent yourself in court, you are called a self-represented litigant or a pro se party.
You must complete TWO STEPS to file documents with the Court:
1. Find and prepare the right documents.
2. Electronically file (also called e-file) your documents online using an electronic filing service provider (EFSP).
STEP 1: Prepare Your Documents
Option 1: Find forms on the forms website of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
Option 2: Visit Illinois Legal Aid Online (in English, Spanish, and Polish) to find the right forms. Their site has free, online, guided interviews called "Easy Forms." They also have blank forms in the Form Library. Below are links to some of the most popular help areas. After you fill out your documents, save them and follow the instructions in the next step to e-file.
Option 3: Visit the Illinois Guide & File site to use a free, online guided interview for one of the case types below. You can sometimes e-file at the end of the interview. If you can’t e-file at the end, save your documents and follow the instructions in the next step to e-file.
Option 4: Contact your local court to see if they have forms.
STEP 2: e-File Your Documents Online
When your documents are ready, select an EFSP to e-file your documents online with the Court. Each EFSP offers a variety of additional services to help you (see comparison chart). CLICK HERE for the full list of EFSPs.
Where to Find More Help
For information on courts and hearings (in English, Spanish, and Polish) from Illinois Legal Aid Online,
- To find a self-help center in your county, click here and scroll down to the “Find a self-help center” section.
- For Illinois laws and court rules, see the Illinois Compiled Statutes and the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.
- To learn about civil appeals, read Resources for Self-Represented Litigants in Civil Appeals.
- For circuit court cases, contact your local Circuit Court Clerk.
- For appellate court cases, contact your local Appellate Court Clerk.
- Chicago and Cook County: CARPLS at (312) 738-9200, Legal Aid Chicago, Greater Chicago Legal Clinic, Justice Entrepreneurs Project
- Northern Illinois (outside Cook County): Prairie State Legal Services
- Southern Illinois: Land of Lincoln Legal Aid at (618) 394-7300 or toll free at (877) 342-7891
- Free legal answers