How Illinois courts are exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests

CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is a powerful tool of transparency and accountability.

It allows anyone to request access to government records. The information can be in the form of documents, datasets, or even communication via email and text.

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But, in Illinois, the judicial branch of government is exempt from the law. Courts in Illinois – at the county and state level – are not currently required to comply with disclosure requirements that apply to every other branch of government.

This exemption is not the norm nationwide. Statistical information from the courts is subject to open access laws in 27 states, and 15 more have court rules and policies that make the data available.

To help shine light on Illinois’ judicial branch, Illinois Answers is leading the Court Transparency Coalition, which recommends that the judicial branch be added to the state’s Freedom of Information Act. You can read more about this push and FOIA at

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January 28, 2023 at 01:00PM

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