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735 ILCS 5/5-105

    (735 ILCS 5/5-105) (from Ch. 110, par. 5-105)
    (Text of Section before amendment by P.A. 100-987)
    Sec. 5-105. Leave to sue or defend as an indigent person.
    (a) As used in this Section:
        (1) "Fees, costs, and charges" means payments imposed
    
on a party in connection with the prosecution or defense of a civil action, including, but not limited to: filing fees; appearance fees; fees for service of process and other papers served either within or outside this State, including service by publication pursuant to Section 2-206 of this Code and publication of necessary legal notices; motion fees; jury demand fees; charges for participation in, or attendance at, any mandatory process or procedure including, but not limited to, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, counseling, evaluation, "Children First", "Focus on Children" or similar programs; fees for supplementary proceedings; charges for translation services; guardian ad litem fees; charges for certified copies of court documents; and all other processes and procedures deemed by the court to be necessary to commence, prosecute, defend, or enforce relief in a civil action.
        (2) "Indigent person" means any person who meets one
    
or more of the following criteria:
            (i) He or she is receiving assistance under one
        
or more of the following public benefits programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, General Assistance, Transitional Assistance, or State Children and Family Assistance.
            (ii) His or her available income is 125% or less
        
of the current poverty level as established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, unless the applicant's assets that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are of a nature and value that the court determines that the applicant is able to pay the fees, costs, and charges.
            (iii) He or she is, in the discretion of the
        
court, unable to proceed in an action without payment of fees, costs, and charges and whose payment of those fees, costs, and charges would result in substantial hardship to the person or his or her family.
            (iv) He or she is an indigent person pursuant to
        
Section 5-105.5 of this Code.
    (b) On the application of any person, before, or after the commencement of an action, a court, on finding that the applicant is an indigent person, shall grant the applicant leave to sue or defend the action without payment of the fees, costs, and charges of the action.
    (c) An application for leave to sue or defend an action as an indigent person shall be in writing and supported by the affidavit of the applicant or, if the applicant is a minor or an incompetent adult, by the affidavit of another person having knowledge of the facts. The contents of the affidavit shall be established by Supreme Court Rule. The court shall provide, through the office of the clerk of the court, simplified forms consistent with the requirements of this Section and applicable Supreme Court Rules to any person seeking to sue or defend an action who indicates an inability to pay the fees, costs, and charges of the action. The application and supporting affidavit may be incorporated into one simplified form. The clerk of the court shall post in a conspicuous place in the courthouse a notice no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches, using no smaller than 30-point typeface printed in English and in Spanish, advising the public that they may ask the court for permission to sue or defend a civil action without payment of fees, costs, and charges. The notice shall be substantially as follows:
        "If you are unable to pay the fees, costs, and
    
charges of an action you may ask the court to allow you to proceed without paying them. Ask the clerk of the court for forms."
    (d) The court shall rule on applications under this Section in a timely manner based on information contained in the application unless the court, in its discretion, requires the applicant to personally appear to explain or clarify information contained in the application. If the court finds that the applicant is an indigent person, the court shall enter an order permitting the applicant to sue or defend without payment of fees, costs, or charges. If the application is denied, the court shall enter an order to that effect stating the specific reasons for the denial. The clerk of the court shall promptly mail or deliver a copy of the order to the applicant.
    (e) The clerk of the court shall not refuse to accept and file any complaint, appearance, or other paper presented by the applicant if accompanied by an application to sue or defend in forma pauperis, and those papers shall be considered filed on the date the application is presented. If the application is denied, the order shall state a date certain by which the necessary fees, costs, and charges must be paid. The court, for good cause shown, may allow an applicant whose application is denied to defer payment of fees, costs, and charges, make installment payments, or make payment upon reasonable terms and conditions stated in the order. The court may dismiss the claims or defenses of any party failing to pay the fees, costs, or charges within the time and in the manner ordered by the court. A determination concerning an application to sue or defend in forma pauperis shall not be construed as a ruling on the merits.
    (f) The court may order an indigent person to pay all or a portion of the fees, costs, or charges waived pursuant to this Section out of moneys recovered by the indigent person pursuant to a judgment or settlement resulting from the civil action. However, nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the authority of a court to order another party to the action to pay the fees, costs, or charges of the action.
    (g) A court, in its discretion, may appoint counsel to represent an indigent person, and that counsel shall perform his or her duties without fees, charges, or reward.
    (h) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect the right of a party to sue or defend an action in forma pauperis without the payment of fees, costs, or charges, or the right of a party to court-appointed counsel, as authorized by any other provision of law or by the rules of the Illinois Supreme Court.
    (i) The provisions of this Section are severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.
(Source: P.A. 97-689, eff. 6-14-12; 97-813, eff. 7-13-12.)
 
    (Text of Section after amendment by P.A. 100-987)
    Sec. 5-105. Waiver of court fees, costs, and charges.
    (a) As used in this Section:
        (1) "Fees, costs, and charges" means payments imposed
    
on a party in connection with the prosecution or defense of a civil action, including, but not limited to: fees set forth in Section 27.1b of the Clerks of Courts Act; fees for service of process and other papers served either within or outside this State, including service by publication pursuant to Section 2-206 of this Code and publication of necessary legal notices; motion fees; charges for participation in, or attendance at, any mandatory process or procedure including, but not limited to, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, counseling, evaluation, "Children First", "Focus on Children" or similar programs; fees for supplementary proceedings; charges for translation services; guardian ad litem fees; and all other processes and procedures deemed by the court to be necessary to commence, prosecute, defend, or enforce relief in a civil action.
        (2) "Indigent person" means any person who meets one
    
or more of the following criteria:
            (i) He or she is receiving assistance under one
        
or more of the following means based governmental public benefits programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), General Assistance, Transitional Assistance, or State Children and Family Assistance.
            (ii) His or her available personal income is 200%
        
or less of the current poverty level, unless the applicant's assets that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are of a nature and value that the court determines that the applicant is able to pay the fees, costs, and charges.
            (iii) He or she is, in the discretion of the
        
court, unable to proceed in an action without payment of fees, costs, and charges and whose payment of those fees, costs, and charges would result in substantial hardship to the person or his or her family.
            (iv) He or she is an indigent person pursuant to
        
Section 5-105.5 of this Code.
        (3) "Poverty level" means the current poverty level
    
as established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
    (b) On the application of any person, before or after the commencement of an action:
        (1) If the court finds that the applicant is an
    
indigent person, the court shall grant the applicant a full fees, costs, and charges waiver entitling him or her to sue or defend the action without payment of any of the fees, costs, and charges.
        (2) If the court finds that the applicant satisfies
    
any of the criteria contained in items (i), (ii), or (iii) of this subdivision (b)(2), the court shall grant the applicant a partial fees, costs, and charges waiver entitling him or her to sue or defend the action upon payment of the applicable percentage of the assessments, costs, and charges of the action, as follows:
            (i) the court shall waive 75% of all fees, costs,
        
and charges if the available income of the applicant is greater than 200% but does not exceed 250% of the poverty level, unless the assets of the applicant that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are such that the applicant is able, without undue hardship, to pay a greater portion of the fees, costs, and charges;
            (ii) the court shall waive 50% of all fees,
        
costs, and charges if the available income is greater than 250% but does not exceed 300% of the poverty level, unless the assets of the applicant that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are such that the applicant is able, without undue hardship, to pay a greater portion of the fees, costs, and charges; and
            (iii) the court shall waive 25% of all fees,
        
costs, and charges if the available income of the applicant is greater than 300% but does not exceed 400% of the current poverty level, unless the assets of the applicant that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are such that the applicant is able, without undue hardship, to pay a greater portion of the fees, costs, and charges.
    (c) An application for waiver of court fees, costs, and charges shall be in writing and signed by the applicant, or, if the applicant is a minor or an incompetent adult, by another person having knowledge of the facts. The contents of the application for waiver of court fees, costs, and charges, and the procedure for the decision of the applications, shall be established by Supreme Court Rule. Factors to consider in evaluating an application shall include:
        (1) the applicant's receipt of needs based
    
governmental public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (ADBD); Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or "food stamps"); General Assistance; Transitional Assistance; or State Children and Family Assistance;
        (2) the employment status of the applicant and amount
    
of monthly income, if any;
        (3) income received from the applicant's pension,
    
Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, and other sources;
        (4) income received by the applicant from other
    
household members;
        (5) the applicant's monthly expenses, including
    
rent, home mortgage, other mortgage, utilities, food, medical, vehicle, childcare, debts, child support, and other expenses; and
        (6) financial affidavits or other similar supporting
    
documentation provided by the applicant showing that payment of the imposed fees, costs, and charges would result in substantial hardship to the applicant or the applicant's family.
    (c-5) The court shall provide, through the office of the clerk of the court, the application for waiver of court fees, costs, and charges to any person seeking to sue or defend an action who indicates an inability to pay the fees, costs, and charges of the action. The clerk of the court shall post in a conspicuous place in the courthouse a notice no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches, using no smaller than 30-point typeface printed in English and in Spanish, advising the public that they may ask the court for permission to sue or defend a civil action without payment of fees, costs, and charges. The notice shall be substantially as follows:
        "If you are unable to pay the fees, costs, and
    
charges of an action you may ask the court to allow you to proceed without paying them. Ask the clerk of the court for forms."
    (d) (Blank).
    (e) The clerk of the court shall not refuse to accept and file any complaint, appearance, or other paper presented by the applicant if accompanied by an application for waiver of court fees, costs, and charges, and those papers shall be considered filed on the date the application is presented. If the application is denied or a partial fees, costs, and charges waiver is granted, the order shall state a date certain by which the necessary fees, costs, and charges must be paid. For good cause shown, the court may allow an applicant who receives a partial fees, costs, and charges waiver to defer payment of fees, costs, and charges, make installment payments, or make payment upon reasonable terms and conditions stated in the order. The court may dismiss the claims or strike the defenses of any party failing to pay the fees, costs, and charges within the time and in the manner ordered by the court. A judicial ruling on an application for waiver of court assessments does not constitute a decision of a substantial issue in the case under Section 2-1001 of this Code.
    (f) The order granting a full or partial fees, costs, and charges waiver shall expire after one year. Upon expiration of the waiver, or a reasonable period of time before expiration, the party whose fees, costs, and charges were waived may file another application for waiver and the court shall consider the application in accordance with the applicable Supreme Court Rule.
    (f-5) If, before or at the time of final disposition of the case, the court obtains information, including information from the court file, suggesting that a person whose fees, costs, and charges were initially waived was not entitled to a full or partial waiver at the time of application, the court may require the person to appear at a court hearing by giving the applicant no less than 10 days' written notice of the hearing and the specific reasons why the initial waiver might be reconsidered. The court may require the applicant to provide reasonably available evidence, including financial information, to support his or her eligibility for the waiver, but the court shall not require submission of information that is unrelated to the criteria for eligibility and application requirements set forth in subdivisions (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this Section. If the court finds that the person was not initially entitled to any waiver, the person shall pay all fees, costs, and charges relating to the civil action, including any previously-waived fees, costs, and charges. The order may state terms of payment in accordance with subsection (e). The court shall not conduct a hearing under this subsection more often than once every 6 months.
    (f-10) If, before or at the time of final disposition of the case, the court obtains information, including information from the court file, suggesting that a person who received a full or partial waiver has experienced a change in financial condition so that he or she is no longer eligible for that waiver, the court may require the person to appear at a court hearing by giving the applicant no less than 10 days' written notice of the hearing and the specific reasons why the waiver might be reconsidered. The court may require the person to provide reasonably available evidence, including financial information, to support his or her continued eligibility for the waiver, but shall not require submission of information that is unrelated to the criteria for eligibility and application requirements set forth in subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this Section. If the court enters an order finding that the person is no longer entitled to a waiver, or is entitled to a partial waiver different than that which the person had previously received, the person shall pay the requisite fees, costs, and charges from the date of the order going forward. The order may state terms of payment in accordance with subsection (e) of this Section. The court shall not conduct a hearing under this subsection more often than once every 6 months.
    (g) A court, in its discretion, may appoint counsel to represent an indigent person, and that counsel shall perform his or her duties without fees, charges, or reward.
    (h) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect the right of a party to sue or defend an action in forma pauperis without the payment of fees, costs, charges, or the right of a party to court-appointed counsel, as authorized by any other provision of law or by the rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the authority of a court to order another party to the action to pay the fees, costs, and charges of the action.
    (h-5) If a party is represented by a civil legal services provider or an attorney in a court-sponsored pro bono program as defined in Section 5-105.5 of this Code, the attorney representing that party shall file a certification with the court in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 298 and that party shall be allowed to sue or defend without payment of fees, costs, and charges without filing an application under this Section.
    (h-10) If an attorney files an appearance on behalf of a person whose fees, costs, and charges were initially waived under this Section, the attorney must pay all fees, costs, and charges relating to the civil action, including any previously waived fees, costs, and charges, unless the attorney is either a civil legal services provider, representing his or her client as part of a court-sponsored pro bono program as defined in Section 5-105.1 of this Code, or appearing under a limited scope appearance in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 13(c)(6).
    (i) The provisions of this Section are severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.
(Source: P.A. 100-987, eff. 7-1-19.)