Incarcerated Litigants Call

In 2015, Presiding Judge Grace Dickler established the Domestic Relations Division Incarcerated Litigant Court Call (“ILC”), the first of its kind in Illinois, in her ongoing efforts to provide all individuals with equal access to justice, in this case specifically, to all individuals regardless of their incarcerated status.

Prior to the inception of the ILC, the majority of incarcerated litigants encountered serious roadblocks when attempting to participate in Domestic Relations proceedings. For example, while incarcerated litigants may petition for a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum in order to attend court, writs are very costly and are not often granted.

During the ILC, hearings are conducted via the use of either PolyCom (a Skype-like technology) or Zoom conferencing, based on the technology utilized by the facilities. This technology allows for face-to-face communication between the incarcerated individual and those present either in person or remote. The use of this technology eliminates the necessity, difficulty and cost of transferring incarcerated litigants from prisons to the Domestic Relations courthouse for hearings through writs of habeas corpus.

The ILC is intended for Domestic Relations Division cases filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County where at least one of the parties is currently incarcerated.

The ILC has been established primarily for litigants in either the Illinois Department of Corrections or the Cook County Department of Corrections. The Presiding Judge’s staff work with these facilities to schedule the ILC. Litigants in other facilities may request a transfer to the ILC; however, if technology is not compatible, the case may be returned to the original calendar.

For more information on how to transfer a case to the Incarcerated Litigant Call, please see Administrative Order 2021 D 2.

For more information on how to schedule a case already transfer to the ILC, please see Presiding Judge Dickler’s Incarcerated Litigants Call Standing Order.

Copyright 2020 by Circuit Court of Cook County