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Public Act 099-0281


 

Public Act 0281 99TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 099-0281
 
HB3933 EnrolledLRB099 04960 HEP 31781 b

    AN ACT concerning courts.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 5. The Access to Justice Act is amended by changing
Sections 5, 10, 15, and 20 and by adding Section 7 as follows:
 
    (705 ILCS 95/5)
    Sec. 5. Findings.
    (a) The justice system in this State can only function
fairly and effectively when there is meaningful access to legal
information, resources, and assistance for all litigants,
regardless of their income or circumstances.
    (b) Increasing numbers of people throughout this State,
including an increasing number of active duty service members
and veterans, are coming into the courts without legal
representation for cases involving important legal matters
impacting the basics of life such as health, safety, and
shelter. In order for the courts to provide fair and efficient
administration of justice in these cases, it is critical that
people, and active duty service members and veterans in
particular, have better access to varying levels of legal
assistance appropriate for their individual circumstances,
which will reduce the number of cases the courts must manage
and reduce unnecessary backlogs and delays in the court system
for the benefit of all litigants.
    (c) An increasing number of active duty service members and
veterans in this State have a need for legal information and
assistance in a variety of matters that are often critical to
their safety and independence, yet they are often unable to
access that assistance. Providing access to legal advice and a
referral system of attorneys for veterans and active duty
service members, who often have underlying issues as a result
of their military service, increases the efficiency of the
court system and advances access to justice for everyone in
this State.
(Source: P.A. 98-351, eff. 8-15-13.)
 
    (705 ILCS 95/7 new)
    Sec. 7. Definitions. As used in this Act:
    (a) "Foundation" means the Illinois Equal Justice
Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation created by the
Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association
and recognized under the Illinois Equal Justice Act.
    (b) "Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council" or "Council"
means a special advisory body created by the Foundation. The
Council consists of 7 members, appointed as follows: one by the
Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, one by the Chicago Bar
Foundation, one by the Illinois Bar Foundation, one by the
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, one by the Illinois
Attorney General, and 2 by the Foundation or any successor
entities or agencies as designated by the Council.
 
    (705 ILCS 95/10)
    Sec. 10. Pilot programs.
    (a) The Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council shall
General Assembly encourages the Supreme Court to develop: (i) a
pilot program to create a statewide military personnel and
veterans' legal assistance hotline and coordinated network of
legal support resources; and (ii) a pilot program to provide
court-based legal assistance within a circuit court in each
appellate district of this State.
    (a-5) The Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission may
develop a pilot program to provide court-based legal assistance
services.
    (b) The General Assembly recommends that the rules
developing the pilot programs:
        (1) provide intake, screening, and varying levels of
    legal assistance to ensure that the parties served by these
    programs have meaningful access to justice;
        (2) gather information on the outcomes associated with
    providing the services described in paragraph (1) of this
    subsection; and
        (3) guard against the involuntary waiver of rights or
    disposition by default.
(Source: P.A. 98-351, eff. 8-15-13.)
 
    (705 ILCS 95/15)
    Sec. 15. Access to Justice Fund.
    (a) The Access to Justice Fund is created as a special fund
in the State treasury. The Fund shall consist of fees collected
under Section 27.3g of the Clerks of Courts Act. Moneys Subject
to appropriation, moneys in the Access to Justice Fund shall be
appropriated to the Attorney General for disbursements to the
Foundation. The Foundation shall use the moneys to make grants
and distributions used by the Supreme Court for the
administration of the pilot programs created under this Act.
Grants or distributions made under this Act to the Foundation
are subject to the requirements of the Illinois Grant Funds
Recovery Act.
    (b) In accordance with the requirements of the Illinois
Equal Justice Act, the Foundation may make grants, enter into
contracts, and take other actions recommended by the Council to
effectuate the pilot programs and comply with the other
requirements of this Act.
    (c) The governing board of the Foundation must prepare and
submit an annual report to the Governor, the President of the
Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of
Representatives, and the Justices of the Illinois Supreme
Court. The report must include: (i) a statement of the total
receipts and a breakdown by source during each of the previous
2 calendar years; (ii) a list of the names and addresses of the
recipients that are currently receiving grants or
distributions and that received grants or distributions in the
previous year and the amounts committed to recipients for the
current year and paid in the previous year; (iii) a breakdown
of the amounts of grants or distributions paid during the
previous year to recipients and the amounts committed to each
recipient for the current year; (iv) a breakdown of the
Foundation's costs in administering the Fund; (v) a statement
of the Fund balance at the start and at the close of the
previous year and the interest earned during the previous year;
and (vi) any notices the Foundation issued denying applications
for grants or distributions under this Act. The report, in its
entirety, is a public record, and the Foundation and the
Governor shall make the report available for inspection upon
request.
    (d) The Foundation may annually retain a portion of the
disbursements it receives under this Section to reimburse the
Foundation for the actual cost of administering the Council and
for making the grants and distributions pursuant to this Act
during that year.
    (e) No moneys distributed by the Foundation from the Access
to Justice Fund may be directly or indirectly used for lobbying
activities, as defined in Section 2 of the Lobbyist
Registration Act or as defined in any ordinance or resolution
of a municipality, county, or other unit of local government in
Illinois.
    (f) The Foundation may make, enter into, and execute
contracts, agreements, leases, and other instruments with any
person, including without limitation any federal, State, or
local governmental agency, and may take other actions that may
be necessary or convenient to accomplish any purpose authorized
by this Act.
    (g) The Foundation has the authority to receive and accept
any and all grants, loans, subsidies, matching funds,
reimbursements, federal grant moneys, fees for services, and
other things of value from the federal or State government or
any agency of any other state or from any institution, person,
firm, or corporation, public or private, to be used to carry
out the purposes of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 98-351, eff. 8-15-13.)
 
    (705 ILCS 95/20)
    Sec. 20. Evaluation. The Council Supreme Court shall study
the effectiveness of the pilot programs implemented under this
Act and submit a report to the Supreme Court, Governor, and
General Assembly by June 1, 2021 2017. The report shall include
the number of people served by the veteran and active military
legal hotline and pro bono program and data on how the pilot
programs expanded access to justice and the impact on
government programs and community resources in each pilot
program and data on the impact of varying levels of legal
assistance on access to justice, the effect on fair and
efficient court administration, and the impact on government
programs and community resources. This report shall describe
the benefits of providing legal assistance to those who were
previously unrepresented, both for the clients, the military
and veteran service organizations, and civil legal aid
programs, and the courts, and shall describe strategies and
recommendations for maximizing the benefit of that
representation in the future. The report shall include an
assessment of the continuing unmet needs and, if available,
data regarding those unmet needs.
(Source: P.A. 98-351, eff. 8-15-13.)
 
    Section 10. The Clerks of Courts Act is amended by changing
Section 27.3g as follows:
 
    (705 ILCS 105/27.3g)
    (Section scheduled to be repealed on August 15, 2018)
    Sec. 27.3g. Pilot program; Access to Justice Act.
    (a) On and after September 1, 2015 If the Supreme Court
develops a pilot program to provide court-based legal
assistance in accordance with Section 10 of the Access to
Justice Act, all clerks of the circuit court shall charge and
collect at the time of filing the first pleading, paper, or
other appearance filed by each party in all civil cases, in
addition to any other fees, a fee of $2 $10, but no additional
fee shall be required if more than one party is represented in
a single pleading, paper, or other appearance. Fees received by
the clerk of the circuit court under this Section shall be
remitted by the clerk of the circuit court to the State
Treasurer, within one month after receipt, to the Supreme Court
for deposit into the Access to Justice Fund created under
Section 15 of the Access to Justice Act.
    (b) This Section is repealed on September 1, 2020 5 years
after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 98th
General Assembly.
(Source: P.A. 98-351, eff. 8-15-13.)
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 08/05/2015