Illinois Supreme Court Adopts New Rule To Protect Personal Information in Documents Before Reviewing Courts

December 07, 2015 7:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

On December 3, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted a new rule designed to protect personal information in cases before both the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court. The new rule, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 364, will become effective July 1, 2016. The rule applies to all documents and exhibits filed in civil and criminal cases before Illinois’ reviewing courts.

The rule aims to protect personal identifiers, such as social security numbers, taxpayer-identification numbers, financial account numbers, and debit and credit card numbers. Additionally, the rule was designed to protect the names of juveniles and recipients of mental health services as referenced in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 341(f).

Documents or exhibits filed with such personal identifiers are permissible if the information is redacted. For example, a party may redact the last four digits of a social security or individual taxpayer-identification number, the last four digits of a driver’s license or state identification card number, the last four digits of a financial account number, and the last four digits of a debit and credit card number. For juveniles and recipients of mental health services, generally, the use of the individual's first name and last initial will suffice.

If the filing of documents or exhibits with personal identifiers is required by court order, law or otherwise necessary, the party filing the documents must file a form in substantial compliance with the model form appended to Rule 364. Afterward, the notice and any other attachments will remain under seal and unavailable for public access, except as the court may order. Subsequent documents filed in the case must then only contain redacted personal identifiers and if necessary, appropriate references to the sealed documents containing the unredacted personal identifiers.

In discussing the rule, Chief Justice Rita B. Garman said the "new rule protects the privacy of parties, witnesses, and others involved in cases before the Illinois Supreme Court and the appellate court while ensuring that necessary personal information is available to those with a legitimate reason to access it."

Rule 364 was modeled after Illinois Supreme Court Rule 138, which was adopted in 2012, and aimed to prevent the disclosure of personal information in civil cases in Illinois circuit courts. The Illinois Supreme Court also amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule 612 to apply Rule 364 to criminal appeals.

Rule 364 may be read here.

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