Each circuit is permitted to create their own rules to further define
their process, as long as the rules do not conflict with Illinois Statutes
or the Supreme Court rules. Accordingly, each circuit (except the 7th) has
their own rules which are available to the public. Many circuits have
published their rules online, and the links are shown below. The rules are
also published in Sullivan's Law Directory, which can be found in larger
public libraries or county law libraries.
View a video from Illinois Legal Aid
Rule 1.2 Appearances (b) A party who appears without having been served with summons is required to plead within the same time as if served with summons on the day he appears.
Rule 10.5 Proceedings under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act
(a) ...[T]he summons shall...
(5) specify the date and place the defendant is to file his appearance and appear for trial which shall not be lass than 14 days or more than 40 days after the issuance of the summons; and
(6) [N]ot be served later than 7 days before the trial date [the trial date is the return date]..
SUMMONS FOR TRIAL (Summons form)
You are SUMMONED to Court, however, you must file your appearance...on or before the date and before the time of trial. IF YOU DO NOT FILE AN APPEARANCE...a JUDGMENT BY DEFAULT may be entered...
In counties with population greater than 1 million, process shall be served by a sheriff. (735 ILCS 5/2-202) (from Ch. 110, par. 2-202) Upon motion and in its discretion, the court may appoint as a special process server a private detective agency certified under the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, and Locksmith Act of 2004.
Cook County Forms
Rule 3.1(c) ...If the case cannot then be settled, the judge shall set it for trial on the next available date, unless all parties announce that they are ready for immediate trial, no one has timely demanded a jury, and the judge's calendar permits the case to be tried on the appearance date.
Rule 5(a) Written Appearances. Every party, or counsel for a party, shall file a written appearance... No party or attorney shall address the court before filing such written appearance.
Rule 15(a) Trial. If both parties are present and cannot reach a settlement, the case shall be tried if both parties are ready. If either party is not ready for trial, the court shall continue the case to an early date. Additional continuances shall not be granted without good cause shown.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER
III. SERVICE OF SUMMONS.
After the complaint is filed, a summons is issued. The defendant is given an appearance date of 7 to 21 days to appear to admit or deny the claim. The summons may be served by the Sheriff, a licensed private investigator or a private process server. If the plaintiff wishes to have service of summons made by private process server, a written motion and proposed order should be filed at the same time as the complaint.
The case cannot go forward against a defendant until process has been served upon that defendant. If process cannot be served because the defendant cannot be located or because the defendant is avoiding service, publication of service or posting, then the judgment against any defendant served only by publication or posting will be for possession of the premises only and will not include a judgment for rent. A court order allowing publication or posting for service process is not needed.
IV. RESPONSE TO THE CLAIM
...If the defendant appears and denies the claim, an answer fee must be paid at the time of the appearance... The case will now be set for trial.
Rule 9. SMALL CLAIMS ACTIONS
9-1(a) Response by the Defendant: After service of summons in a small claims action, the defendant may do any of the following:
9-1(d) Summons Appearance Date Not Considered the Trial Date: Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the appearance date as noted on the summons shall not be the date of the trial.
C. Initial Appearance by Parties
The plaintiff and the defendant must appear in Court on the return date set in the summons...
D. Denial of Claim
If the defendant denies the claim, the cause shall be set for trial at a date and time certain. The defendant may be ordered to pay the appropriate appearance fee by a date certain. If the appearance fee is not paid, the trial date will be vacated, default judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant...
PART 6. SMALL CLAIMS ACTION
6.1 PROCEDURE IN SMALL CLAIMS ACTIONS
(a) Response by the defendant. After service of summons in a small claims action, the defendant may:
(1) notify the Clerk of the Court, in writing, at lease seven (7) days prior to the appearance date on the summons, stating that he wishes to contest the claim..., or
(2) file a written motion or answer, or
(3) appear in person or by attorney on the appearance date, and admit or deny the allegations of the complaint. If a defendant fails to respond as stated above, a default may be taken and judgment...entered.
(c) Summons appearance date not considered the trial date. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the appearance date as noted on the summons shall not be the date of trial.
Small Claims Court Manual
First appearances for pro se cases are heard on Tuesdays at 10:30am except for Jury weeks. First appearances are held no less than fourteen (14) or more than forty (40) days after the issuance of the summons.
If the defendant appears and denies the claim, the judge will set up a trial date.
The Seventh Circuit Court has not compiled an explicit set of rules of procedure for matters in their jurisdiction.
Citizens Guide to Small Claims Court:
"How do I start a Small Claims Case?," Paragraph 3: ...service can be made upon the defendant by certified mail, or by the Sheriff's office, whichever you choose.
"What do I do when I get to Court," Paragraph 2: If the defendant denies he owes the claim, the case usually will be set for trial on a later date.
(Not in rules)
(Not in rules)
Rule 101.A.2 The following "Notice to Defendant" shall be affixed to summons issued by the Clerk in actions for forcible detainer, to-wit:
You are required to personally appear at the time and place specified in the above summons. If you fail to do so, judgment may be entered against you for the relief asked in the complaint filed in this cause.
(Trial @ appearance not in rules. Check small claims)
Rule 9.02 Summons shall be in substantial compliance with the Summons Requiring Appearance on a Specific Day as set forth in Supreme Court Rule 101(b) and shall also include the following admonition to the defendant: "This case will not be tried on the date you are to appear. To avoid a default judgment you must appear on the date and at the time shown above. You or your representative will then be told the date you case will be heard."
(Check small claims)
PART 7. SMALL CLAIMS ACTION
(a) Response by the Defendant. After service of summons in a small claims action, the defendant may do one of the following:
If a defendant fails to respond as stated above, a default may be entered and judgment...taken against him.
(d) Summons-Appearance Date Not Considered the Trial Date. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the appearance date as noted on the summons shall not be the date of trial.
Rule 3.1(a) ...All civil cases...shall be set for trial as soon after the return date as may be reasonable.
NOTICE TO DEFENDANTS
A the time and place indicated in this summons you must appear in person or by an attorney and make your presence known to the court.
The case will be tried on the day set for your appearance unless otherwise ordered by the court.
If you wish to contest this claim, you must appear at the time and place stated herein, with the witnesses, books or documents needed to establish your defense.
Summons (Notice to Defendant)
YOU MUST APPEAR IN PERSON OR BY ATTORNEY at the time and place specified in the Summons or a default Judgment will be entered against you.
When you appear in Court, the Judge will require you to enter your appearance in writing, if you have not already done so.
Your case will not be heard on the date set forth in the Summons unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Only the Court can make an exception.
Rule 2.09 Court-Annexed Small Claims Mediation
...[T]here is hereby established a pilot program of Court-Annexed Small Claims Mediation for pro se litigants.
II. ACTIONS ELIGIBLE FOR SMALL CLAIMS MEDIATION
All pro se small claims and cases may be referred to mediation by agreement of the parties.
General Order No. 3 - Civil Division - Winnebago County
3.06 All forcible entry and detainer summons shall be returnable to the Winnebago County Courthouse, Courtroom 315 on Thursday at 9:00 a.m.
(Trial @ appearance not in rules)
Rule 16.03(f) Cases not tried or otherwise disposed of on the return date will be set for trial by order of the Court.
In any civil matter, including D and F cases, the claimant/plaintiff/petitioner shall file the appropriate Certificate of Attorney identifying the type of case being filed. Each division within the Circuit Court of Lake County may develop its own Certificate of Attorney.
A. An approved summons form provided by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, substantially in the form set forth in Supreme Court Rule 101(b) shall be used in any Small Claims action.
B. Small Claims actions may be commenced by filing a complaint on forms supplied by the Clerk of the Circuit Court or the Center for Self-Representation. The complaint shall state the amount of and the basis for plaintiff’s claim, giving dates and relevant facts.
C. If the claim is based on a written instrument, a copy thereof must be attached to the original and all copies of the complaint. If the written instrument is not available to the plaintiff, an affidavit so stating shall be attached to the complaint.
D. A copy of the complaint and Small Claims Summons (along with any written instrument required to be attached) shall be served upon each defendant by any of the methods allowed by law, including certified or registered mail in compliance with Supreme Court Rule 284.
E. Copies of complaints served upon defendants shall have attached thereto two blank “Written Appearance Forms” which may be used by the defendants.
F. The Small Claims Summons, when issued, shall contain NOTICE TO DEFENDANT setting forth the following language:
Rule 7.02 DEFAULT
If a defendant who has been duly served with summons fails to appear on or before the day and time designated as the return day, the court may take the allegations in the complaint as admitted by said defendant and upon motion and without notice enter a judgment by default against defendant for the amount claimed plus court costs. Such judgment may be entered on the return day or any time thereafter. Also, the court may in its discretion, require the presentation of evidence and set the case down for “prove up.”
7.03 CONTESTED CASES
After service of summons, a defendant desiring to contest the plaintiff’s claim must do one of the following:
In either event, trial of plaintiff’s complaint shall be automatically set for the 14th day after the return day. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant need appear on the return day when the defendant has contested plaintiff’s complaint by duly filing an appearance. No cause will be set for trial on any date other than the 14th day after the return day, except upon proper notice and motion or by agreement of the parties approved by the court. No trial will be heard on the return day, unless the court orders otherwise.
St. Clair County Sheriff's Department / Guide for Litigants
3. What if the notice cannot be delivered?
...Posting should be used...when the premises have been vacated. It is not necessary to obtain a court order to use posting as a method for delivery of the notice.
8. What happens at the First Appearance if the defendant is present?
...If the tenant denies [the claim], the judge will set the case for trial.
When a case is set for trial, the trial is scheduled at 9:30 AM on the Monday after the first appearance date (or on Tuesday if the Monday is a court holiday).
Civil Actions Subject to Mandatory Arbitration (S. Ct. Rule 8c)
c. All civil actions will be subject to Mandatory Arbitration on all claims exclusively for money in an amount exceeding $2,500 but not exceeding $20,000, exclusive of interest and costs.
Rule 7.1(b)(3) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the appearance date as noted on the summons shall not be the date of trial.
SUMMONS / NOTICE TO DEFENDANT
If you wish to contest this claim, you must do the following:
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