2. File the Notice of Appeal within 30 days
3. Serve a copy of the Notice of Appeal within 7 days
Serve a copy of the appeal to the other parties Within 7 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, you must: Serve a copy of the Notice of Appeal on any other parties; and file a notice of appeal with the clerk of the Illinois Appellate Court. Include filing a Proof of [process:proof-service] form with the court that says you have sent copies of the document you are filing to the other parties or their lawyers. If you do not file your Notice of Appeal before the expiration of this 7-day deadline, the appellate court cannot hear your appeal.
4. File a docketing statement with the appellate court within 14 days
Within 14 days of filing your Notice of Appeal, you must file a docketing statement with the appellate court. The docketing statement is a snapshot of the case you are appealing:
- File a docketing statement in the format found on the Illinois Courts website;
- Send a written request to the circuit clerk and court reporter asking them to prepare their sections of the record on appeal. Check with your circuit court clerk to see if they have a certain way that you must order the record. Make sure to include a copy of these written requests with your docketing statement. As the appellant, you are responsible for the costs involved in preparing the record;
- Each district of the appellate court has local rules about fee waivers. Please note that getting a fee waiver in the circuit court does not mean you can get a fee waiver in the appellate court. Use our program to create the forms for a Fee Waiver from the appellate court.
- Send a copy of the docketing statement to each of the other parties in your case;
- File the original docketing statement with copies of your written requests to the circuit court clerk and court reporter and one extra copy with the appellate court clerk, along with a Proof of Service. When you file the docketing statement, you must also pay a filing fee in the appellate court. This fee is in addition to any fees you paid in the circuit court. Use our program to create the forms to send to the court clerk for a Proof of Delivery.
5. File the Record on Appeal within 63 days of filing Notice of Appeal
You must file the record on appeal, or a Certificate in Lieu of the Record, with the clerk of the appellate court within 63 days of filing the Notice of Appeal. You must pay for the costs that come with preparing the record on appeal unless the appellate court waives these costs.
You will also need to send a written notice to the other parties in the case to let them know you have filed the record. You must also file a proof of service which lets the court know that you gave notice of the filing to the other parties in the case or their lawyers.
Record on appeal
The record on appeal has two parts:
- The common law record. This includes all of the written documents created or considered by the circuit court during your case; and
- The report of proceedings. This is a record of what was said at any hearings held at the circuit court during your case.
The common law record and report of proceedings make up all the facts the appellate court can look at when deciding your appeal. The record on appeal must include everything that was in the circuit court file. This includes transcripts prepared by a court reporter.
If no court reporter was present, prepare a bystander’s report or an agreed statement of facts
The bystander’s report is a written report that describes what was said before the court. This report must be made by someone who was at the hearings. You will need to give this report to the circuit clerk within 28 days of filing the Notice of Appeal.
The agreed statement of facts is a statement of facts material to the case, agreed to by all of the parties. You do not need to submit it to the circuit clerk for certification.
The appellate court will not consider anything that is not in the record on appeal
If something is missing from the record, ask the court clerk for the missing information. File a motion with the clerk of the appellate court asking permission to add things to the record. You cannot just attach the extra material to your brief. Nothing can be included in the record that was not part of your original case.
Provide a citation to the record for every fact in your brief
After you file the record on appeal, you need to check the record again. You will use the record to make citations in your brief. When you talk about something in your brief, you need to cite to the record page number. That way the court can locate the exact page in the record when they read your brief. You need to cite to the record in your brief every time you talk about what happened in your case.
You can also ask the circuit court to give you a Certificate in Lieu of the Record. Then, you can file the certificate instead of the actual record. This allows you to keep the record with you while you write your brief. This makes it easier for you to cite the record when you prepare your brief. If you do this, you must deliver the record to the appellate court when you file your brief.
6. File an appellant’s brief within 35 days after filing the Record on Appeal
- Your brief must be 50 pages long or less not including the appendix;
- It must be in a certain format. This format is listed on the Illinois Courts website; and
- The cover of your opening brief must be white.
There are rules for preparing briefs on appeal. The Checklist for Filings in the Appellate Court lists those requirements.
You must file 9 copies of the brief with the clerk of the appellate court. You must also serve 3 copies on any other party. All filed briefs need a proof of service attached to the back of the brief. Service is a way of delivering your brief to the other party so that the court has documentation of this event.
7. Appellee must file a brief within 35 days from your appellant brief filing
The appellee’s brief must be filed with the clerk of the appellate court within 35 days from the filing of the appellant’s brief. The appellee must also follow these rules when preparing their brief:
- The brief must be 50 pages long or fewer (not including the appendix);
- The brief must also be in a certain format; and
- The cover of the appellee’s brief must be light blue.
The appellee must file 9 copies of the brief with the clerk of the appellate court. The appellee must also serve 3 copies on any other party. All filed briefs need a Proof of Service attached to the back of the brief.
8. File your reply to the appellee’s brief within 14 days
You may file a reply brief no more than 14 days after the appellee files their brief. The following rules apply:
- The reply brief must be 20 pages long or less;
- The reply must be in a specific format; and
- The cover of your reply brief must be light yellow.
Unlike your opening brief, you can only make arguments in your reply brief. These arguments will usually argue against what the appellee wrote in their brief.
9. Get a copy of the court’s Notice of Decision
The appellate court will consider the following when making its decision:
- The record on appeal;
- The parties’ briefs; and
- Sometimes the parties’ oral arguments.
The appellate court decides whether oral argument is needed in a case. Oral arguments are when parties go before the three judges that make up the appeals court and argue for their case. The judges will usually ask questions during oral arguments. If the appellate court decides to hear oral argument, the appellate court clerk will notify the parties of the date and time of the hearing.
The appellate court clerk will send a Notice of Decision to tell you when the court makes its decision. You will be able to pick up a copy of the decision from the clerk.
Losing your appeal
If you lose and the appellate court decided your criminal conviction was proper, you can fight the decision in the following ways:
- File a Petition for Rehearing
- File a Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court
File a Petition for Rehearing within 21 days after appellate court decision
You can ask for a rehearing if you disagree with the appellate court’s decision. You ask for a rehearing by filing a petition. In the petition, you must describe the errors that you think the appellate court made. The petition must be filed with the clerk of the appellate court within 21 days after the filing of the appellate court’s decision.
Your petition must:
- Be 27 pages or less;
- Include a certificate of compliance with the appellate court rules; and
- Have a light green cover.
You must file nine copies of the petition with the clerk of the appellate court. You must also send three copies to each of the other parties. All filed petitions need a proof of service attached to the back of the petition.
If you do not file your petition for rehearing on time, the appellate court cannot consider your petition.
File a Petition for Leave to Appeal within 35 days after appellate court decision
You may also file a Petition for Leave of Appeal (PLA). The PLA asks the Illinois Supreme Court to look at the appellate court’s decision. The PLA must describe the mistakes that the appellate court made.
You must file your PLA with the clerk of the Illinois Supreme Court no more than 35 days after the appellate court makes its decision.
However, if you asked the appellate court for a rehearing and it was denied you must file your PLA no more than 35 days after the appellate court denies your rehearing.
Updated: October 2016