COURTS IN ILLINOIS
STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS
There are two separate court systems exists in this State
- State and
The court system which a person shall enter into solely depend upon a number of factors but mostly upon the following:
- whether a court has exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case,
- the amount of damages involved, and
the locations of the parties in the case.
- Each judicial circuit is composed of one or more counties and is having a Circuit court in it.
- Each circuit court hears cases in each county within its circuit at some time. The court of "original jurisdiction" is the circuit court.
- The circuit court has general subject matter jurisdiction and handles a wide variety of cases, both civil and criminal.
- The circuit courts are courts of original jurisdiction meaning where:
- trials are held,
- witnesses are testified,
- evidence is presented, and
- argument is made and
- judgments are rendered.
- Small claims court is a division of circuit court and appeals from conciliation court are heard in the Circuit Court.
- The circuit court can decide, with few exceptions, any kind of case.
- The exceptions are
- redistricting of the general assembly and
- the ability of the governor to serve or resume office.
- The circuit court also shares jurisdiction with the Supreme Court to hear cases relating to
- prohibition, and
- habeas corpus.
The circuit court also reviews administrative orders from certain state agencies.
- There are three types of subject matter jurisdiction:
- general, and
- Exclusive jurisdiction means that only a particular court can decide a case.
- General jurisdiction means that a court has the ability to hear and decide a wide range of cases.
Limited jurisdiction means that a court has restrictions on the cases it can decide.
STATE COURTS SYSTEM
Illinois has three levels to its court system:
- Circuit courts,
- Court of Appeals, and
the Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court , highest Court in Illinois,
- The Supreme Court has general administrative and supervisory authority over all courts in the state.
The Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts and may exercise original jurisdiction in cases relating to revenue, mandamus, prohibition or habeas corpus.
The Appellate Court hears appeals from the Circuit Courts.
COURT OF APPEALS
- The Appellate Court's primary function is to determine whether there has been an error at the circuit court level while rendering the judgement, and if so, what remedy to it can be made.
- The Appellate Court reviews the transcript from the circuit court and may also consider written and oral arguments.
- The Appellate Court can reverse or affirm a circuit court ruling or send it back to the circuit court for additional action.
- The Appellate Court hears most appeals from the circuit courts unless the law specifically states that a particular appeal goes directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Appeals from the Appellate Court are sent to the Illinois Supreme Court.
- The Illinois Supreme Court is the highest court in the state.
- Like the Court of Appeals, it does not hold trials but reviews transcripts, takes written and oral arguments, and determines whether there has been an error at the district court level.
- It may also reverse, affirm, or remand a case.
- The Supreme Court is the rule-making body for the state courts and has administrative responsibility for the operation of the state court system.
An Illinois Supreme Court decision is a final decision in Illinois and may be appealed to the United States Supreme Court only if there is a federal issue involved.
- The federal court system hears both civil and criminal cases and is also divided into three levels of Court.
- There are generally three ways a case can be filed in federal court:
- the case involves a federal law, the case raises a question of United States Constitution interpretation, or
- the case involves parties from more than one state and the amount in question is more than $50,000.
- Like the state circuit courts, the federal district court holds trials on issues over which it has jurisdiction.
- Appeals from the federal district court go to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Federal bankruptcy courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy matters.
CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
- As per the distribution of the circuit in the United States Courts the state of Illinois falls under the Seventh circuit.
- The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals does not try cases, but only reviews cases from lower courts within the circuit.
- The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has its main office in Chicago.
Appeals from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals are heard at the United States Supreme Court.
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
- The United States Supreme Court hears appeals from the circuit courts of appeal and states' supreme courts, and other cases in which it has jurisdiction such as `cases between states.
- The Supreme Court has very broad discretion to decide which cases it will review and only a small percentage of the cases appealed to the United States Supreme Court are actually heard.
- The refusal to hear an appeal lets stand the lower court's ruling.