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First Year Legal Research Guide: Illinois Resources

Illinois Law Research Guide

For a more in-depth treatment of each of these topics, see the Law Library's dedicated Illinois Law Research Guide.

Accessing Illinois Resources

You can find all of the print items in the Illinois collection on the 3rd floor of the Law Library. See the map below for the location of Illinois materials in relation to the Circulation Desk. For a more detailed look at the Illinois collection, both print and electronic, please visit the Illinois Legal Research Guide.

Illinois Floor Map

Wojcik's Illinois Legal Research, 2nd ed.

Illinois Legislative History Research

"Legislative history" refers to the documents generated as a bill passes through the legislative process on its way to becoming a statute.  The following guides will help you to understand the process of gathering that documentation for a particular piece of Illinois legislation.

Illinois Secondary Sources

The advantage of using Illinois secondary sources over the more general secondary sources is that they will always point you to Illinois primary law, as opposed to primary law that isn’t binding in Illinois state courts. The two major sets of Illinois legal encyclopedias are Illinois Jurisprudence (in print at KFI1230.5 .L38 1992, and in Lexis) and Illinois Law and Practice KFI1265 .I4, and in Westlaw). Illinois Jurisprudence in print is organized by major topic (for example, Business Organizations, Family Law, and Torts), while Illinois Law and Practice in print is organized alphabetically.

There are many helpful treatises that Illinois practitioners rely upon. Among the most helpful are the handbooks published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, which are commonly known as “IICLEs” (after the Institute’s acronym). IICLE handbooks are written by Illinois practitioners and provide practical discussions of Illinois legal issues with citations to relevant primary authorities. Print volumes are identifiable by their black binding, while online access is available to the Loyola Law community (from on-campus computers, and from off campus with a LOCUS ID/password) through the IICLE Online Library. West’s Illinois Practice Series print volumes are shelved in the Illinois section of the Library on the 3rd floor, while the entire set can be found on Westlaw. Several Loyola Law professors are contributing authors to the Series.

There are a couple of additional noteworthy legal periodicals that llinois practitioners use to keep up-to-date on topics of current interest (although these are not generally used for research purposes):

  • Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is a daily newspaper that provides articles on legal topics affecting Chicago and Illinois lawyers, as well as court dockets and classified ads. Recent print issues are available in the Law Library’s 3rd floor "Living Room," and current students can sign up for free online access.
  • Illinois Bar Journal is the Illinois State Bar Associations (ISBA) monthly journal, providing practice tips, news on pending legislation, and a monthly legal research column. Available in print (K9 .L5, most recent issue is in the Law Library’s 3rd floor "Living Room") and in Westlaw. Students can receive free access (and other benefits) by signing up for a student ISBA membership online.

Illinois Cases

Prior to July 1, 2011, Illinois Supreme Court cases were officially published in print in Illinois Reports (KFI1245 .I51), and Illinois Appellate Court cases were officially published in print in Illinois Appellate Court Reports (KFI1248 .I51). However, since July 1, 2011, official versions of Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court case opinions are not available in print; they are available only from the website of the Illinois Courts. The 20th edition of The Bluebook covers the "public domain" citation format now required for Illinois case citations; see table T1 (page 262).  Note that West's North Eastern Reporter is an unofficial regional reporter that contains Illinois case opinions.  

The Illinois Courts website can be a helpful resource for finding recent case opinions (for free) if you know the name of the case you’re looking for. However, because it does not have a powerful full-text search engine like Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, and because it does not provide finding aids (such as headnotes) or a citator service for updating your research, the website is not as useful for extensive legal research projects as the subscription-based online legal research services.

Illinois Statutes

Illinois statutory law consists of legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly, the legislative branch of Illinois government. As with federal statutory law, Illinois statutes are initially issued as individual Acts, called "Public Acts," which follow a citation convention that parallels federal slip laws: Public Act 98-1097 would refer to the 1097th statute enacted by the 98th Illinois General Assembly. Individual Public Acts are then arranged chronologically into session laws, which in Illinois are called Laws of the State of Illinois. Because Public Acts and Laws of the State of Illinois are arranged chronologically and not by subject, they are of limited value for research.

As we saw with federal statutory law, there are three codified (i.e., arranged-by-subject) versions of Illinois statutory law. Unlike federal statutory law, however, there is no official codified version of Illinois statutory law. The Illinois Compiled Statutes, or ILCS, looks like an official version, but because it is published by the Illinois State Bar Association and not the state government, it is not considered official. ILCS is available in print at KFI1229 .I44 and online from the General Assembly’s website (the ILGA's website also notes that their version is "NOT in any sense the 'official' text of the Illinois Compiled Statutes as enacted into law." ILCS is published every two years, but since it does not provide annotations, it has limited value for anyone doing extensive legal research.

There are two unofficial, commercially-produced codes containing Illinois statutory law, both of which provide annotations that refer to relevant case law and secondary sources for each section of the code. Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated, published by Lexis, is available in print (KFI1230 1993) and online in Lexis (use the "Browse Sources" menu to navigate to the code). West's Smith-Hurd Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated is available in print (KFI1230 1993 .A4) and in Westlaw. Because the annotations (especially to secondary sources) differ in the two commercially-produced codes, if you have access to both, it's a good idea to conduct research in both sets.

Illinois Administrative Law

Illinois administrative law consists of rules, regulations, and administrative decisions issued by Illinois executive branch agencies, plus documents produced by the Governor’s office and other statewide Constitutional offices (e.g., the Attorney General and Secretary of State). Just as we saw with federal administrative law, there is a chronological compilation of agency publications, the Illinois Register, which is updated weekly and available in print at KFI1235 .I42 and online from the Secretary of State’s website. There is also a codified, topically-arranged version of Illinois administrative regulations called the Illinois Administrative Code. There is no official print version of the Administrative Code; the only official version is available online from the website of the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). A complete list of Illinois administrative agency websites is available online.

Subject Guide

Patricia Scott's picture
Patricia Scott
Contact:
Director, Law Library & Clinical Professor of Law

Philip H. Corboy Law Center

25 E. Pearson St.

Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 915-8515

How to Cite

The Bluebook notes that practitioners should be aware of local court rules and specifies on p. 3,"Make sure to abide by any citation requirements of the court to which you are submitting your documents." Table BT2 of the Bluepages contains an index of jurisdiction-specific citation rules. Where the Bluepages and local court rules are silent, defer to the Whitepages. See p. 3 in The Bluebook for further discussion of the applicability of the Bluepages and Whitepages.

In table T1 (p. 262), The Bluebook covers the public domain citation format now required for Illinois cases decided after June 31, 2011.  For additional instruction, see Illinois Supreme Court Rule 6 and the Style Manual for the Supreme and Appellate Courts of Illinois.

Table T1 provides the following examples:

Loup v. Dube, 2014 IL 101235, ¶ 5.

Dube v. Loup, 2015 IL App (1st) 101214, ¶ ¶ 20-22.

Rule B10.1.3 (iv) (Bluepages) covers how to generally cite to state high court cases in non-academic legal documents, and rule B10.1.3 (v) (Bluepages) covers citing to cases from other state courts. 

Rule B12.1.2 (Bluepages) specifies how to generally cite to state statutes in non-academic legal documents.

Pursuant to table T1 of The Bluebook, the formats for citing to the Illinois Register and Illinois Administrative Code are as follows:

38 Ill. Reg. 19626 (October 10, 2014).

ILL. ADMIN. CODE. tit. 77, §582.10 (2014).

The components of the Illinois Register citation are: volume number, publication name, page number, and date. The components of the Illinois Administrative Code citation are publication name, title of the Code, section number, and year.