Illinois Appeals Attorney Robert G. Black
Filing an appeal in the Illinois state courts is a lengthy and complex process. As such, the counsel of an experienced attorney dedicated to appellate services is always recommended.
Here is an overview of how the appeals process works in Illinois:
- Step 1: Filing an appeal -- A notice of appeal is filed in the trial court following the conclusion of the trial. Attorneys have a limited time to file a notice of appeal. Attorneys must also obtain the record on appeal from the circuit court.
Step 2: Briefs are filed -- In most appeals, three (3) briefs are filed with the court. These include:
- The opening brief -- an explanation from the appellant of the facts and history of the case without opinion and a description of errors of law or fact that should lead to a reversal.
- The responsive brief -- a response from the appellee of why the trial court’s decision should be upheld
- The reply brief -- a response from the appellant to the responsive brief from the appellee.
- Step 3: Oral Arguments -- Oral arguments highlighting the key points in the appeal are heard before an appellate panel of three (3) justices. (This only occurs if the appellate court decides to hear oral arguments, which may not happen in civil cases).
- Step 4: The Decision -- The appellate panel issues a written opinion on its decision.
- Step 5: Rehearing -- If a party receives an adverse decision, a request for the appellate court to rehear the case can be made. The requests are rarely granted.
- Step 6: Petitioning the Illinois Supreme Court -- A dissatisfied party may petition the Illinois Supreme Court to review the case. The court is under no obligation to hear the case, however. If the court does hear the case, the appeals process begins anew.