Navigating any legal situation can be a nerve-wracking and overwhelming experience and it can be difficult to keep track of important information such as the case number, upcoming court dates, and judge assignment. As a reference for participants and attorneys, the Cook County Clerk’s office has established a searchable online docket that includes all the relevant information for each case.
COOK COUNTY CLERK ELECTRONIC DOCKET
Cook County’s searchable online docket can be found by visiting www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org and selecting the “Full Electronic Docket Search” tab from “Online Case Info” on the sidebar. The first step is to choose the appropriate division from the “Division Name” drop-down box. The options are Civil, Law, Chancery, or Domestic Relations/Child Support. Once the division has been selected, the case can be searched by case number, plaintiff or defendant’s name, or by the date on which the case was filed. If the case number is unknown, for example, simply knowing either the plaintiff or defendant’s name is sufficient. It is important to note that the “Search Now” button must be clicked in whichever search field is being used. For example, if searching for a case by case number, the “Search Now” button must be clicked in the same search field.
READING THE CASE INFORMATION SUMMARY
Searching for a case in the online docket will pull up the Case Information Summary for that case. This Summary lists all of the case’s relevant information, as well as everything that has happened so far in that case. At the top of the page you can find the Case Type (i.e. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Tort), District, and Calendar, followed by the names of the parties and their attorneys, if any.
The District refers to which jurisdiction the case is under. For example, if the case was filed at the Daley Center in Chicago, the case is in the First Municipal District and will be heard in front of a judge at the Daley Center. The other municipal districts are in Skokie (Second), Rolling Meadows (Third), Maywood (Fourth), Bridgeview (Fifth), and Markham (Sixth).
The Calendar refers to which judge is assigned to the case. The judge can be determined by searching the Internet for that calendar in Cook County, or by looking at the Case Activity farther down on the Case Information Summary. The judge must stamp any orders entered in the case and their name will be on the Summary on the dates the orders were been entered. It is always best to verify which judge is on the calendar, however, as judges will occasionally sit in for other judges.
The remainder of the Case Information Summary is the Case Activity. This displays each activity that has happened in court for a given case, the date on which it took place, and which party was responsible for that activity. For example, the first activity should be the filing of a petition or a complaint. To the left of the activity the “Activity Date” is listed and on the right is the “Participant”, or the party responsible for the activity. If the Participant was represented by an attorney, that information can be found underneath the title of the activity.
Each subsequent item on the Case Information Summary similarly represents an activity that occurred in court. This can be the filing of a petition or other pleading, a scheduled court date on the presentment of a motion or a status report, or the entrance of an order by the judge, among many other examples. When a court date has been scheduled, this information can also be found in the Case Information Summary. If the case has been scheduled for a court date, the scheduled date, time, and room number will appear underneath and to the left of the activity. The online docket will record each activity and each court date until the conclusion of the case. The conclusion of a case will typically be marked by the entrance of a Judgment or by the dismissal of the case. In family law, there are also frequently post-decree actions, which are the subject of another article.