2016 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 30 - FINANCE
30 ILCS 765/ - Illinois Equal Justice Act.

(30 ILCS 765/1) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-1)
Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Illinois Equal Justice Act.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/5) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-5)
Sec. 5. Legislative findings. The General Assembly finds:
(a) Equal justice is a basic right that is fundamental to democracy in this State, and the integrity of this State and this State's justice system depends on protecting and enforcing the rights of all people.
(b) This State's residents must have information about self-help processes and available remedies.
(c) The justice system must work with social services providers, government agencies, and community leaders to promote approaches to preventing and resolving legal difficulties.
(d) The maintenance, operation, and fairness of the courts are significantly enhanced when all parties have access to basic legal information, information about the court system, and information about alternative methods of dispute resolution and other alternatives to the legal system. Individuals unable to obtain this information who are also unable to obtain legal representation cause all parties in the court system to experience backlogs and delays, often resulting in multiple court appearances, or lengthier court appearances, or both, than would otherwise be necessary for all parties. When all parties have access to basic legal information, information about the court system, and information about alternatives to the legal system, the parties may proceed in a more productive and efficient manner, thereby reducing the number of cases the courts must manage and reducing unnecessary backlogs and delays in the court system.
(e) The resolution of disputes can be costly and time-consuming in the context of a formal judicial proceeding. Mediation of disputes has a potential for efficiently reducing the volume of cases in the court system in this State. There is a compelling need for dispute resolution centers to divert some matters from the court system.
(f) The courts of Illinois are backlogged with both pre-judgment and post-judgment civil cases that require numerous court appearances and lengthy hearings caused in part by individuals who are not represented by legal counsel. The resolution of these cases often results in the unrepresented party not following the court procedures and orders, causing multiple court proceedings. Providing legal representation to the indigent party in civil cases has a great potential for efficiently reducing the volume of matters that burden the court system in this State. Not-for-profit legal services organizations make a substantial contribution to the expeditious operation and maintenance of the courts in civil cases.
(g) Equal justice is an integral part of the general public welfare.
(h) The collection and distribution of funds under this Act promotes equal justice, is in the public interest, and enhances the administration of justice and the courts.
(i) The use of the funds for the purposes prescribed by this Act is consistent with the essential functions of the courts.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/10) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-10)
Sec. 10. Definitions. For the purposes of this Act:
"Foundation" means the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation created by the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.
"Legal information center" means a center in a judicial circuit of this State operated by a not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt from the payment of federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that serves as an information center for persons considering use of the judicial system in that judicial circuit. Information available at each legal information center may include, but not be limited to, information about the organization of the court system, applicable court procedures, how to obtain legal representation, alternatives to the court system such as mediation or social services, the applicable substantive law, self-help packets explaining the court procedures and applicable law in a particular substantive area, and available self-help assistance desks.
"Regional legal services hotline" means a program in this State operated by a not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt from the payment of federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that (i) provides assistance to legal information centers and this State's residents, and supplements legal information centers by providing information to legal information centers and this State's residents that includes, but is not limited to, information about the organization of the court system, applicable court procedures, how to obtain legal representation, alternatives to the court system such as mediation or social services, the applicable substantive law, self-help packets explaining the court procedures and applicable law in a particular substantive area, and available self-help assistance desks and (ii) coordinates and provides assistance to civil legal services providers operating in this State by providing coordinated intake and referral services.
"Self-help assistance desk" means a program operated by a not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt from the payment of federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that provides legal information and advice about a particular substantive area of the law to litigants or potential litigants in non-criminal or traffic matters who are unable to obtain or do not have legal representation for a dispute involving that substantive area of the law.
"Dispute resolution center" means a not-for-profit organization that is exempt from the payment of federal taxes pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that is organized to provide mediation services at no charge to disputants who agree to use its services. Disputes handled by a dispute resolution center may include, but not be limited to, disputes referred from the court system.
"Mediation" means a voluntary process in which an impartial mediator actively assists disputants in identifying and clarifying issues of concern and in designing and agreeing to solutions for those issues.
"Mediator" means a person who has received at least 30 hours of training in the areas of negotiation, nonverbal communication, agreement writing, neutrality, and ethics.
"Civil legal services" means legal representation or advice in non-criminal matters provided to eligible clients.
"Civil legal services provider" means a not-for-profit corporation that (i) is exempt from the payment of federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, (ii) is established for the purpose of providing legal services that include civil legal services, and (iii) either (A) employs 4 or more full-time attorneys who are licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and who directly provide civil legal services or (B) provides civil legal services through an organized panel of pro bono attorneys.
"Eligible client" means an individual, not a business entity, who is involved in a non-criminal or traffic matter, who has been found financially eligible for civil legal services by a civil legal services provider, and who has an annual income that does not exceed 150% of the prevailing poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
"Pro bono attorney" means an attorney who is self-employed, or employed by an entity other than a civil legal services provider, and who represents eligible clients without charge under the auspices of a civil legal services provider.
"Recipient" means a legal information center, regional legal services hotline, self-help assistance desk, dispute resolution center, or qualified civil legal services provider receiving moneys under this Act.
"Qualified civil legal services provider" means a civil legal services provider that (i) makes financial eligibility determinations before providing civil legal services; (ii) has demonstrated its commitment to the provision of high quality civil legal services to clients and has operated for at least 2 years; and (iii) received and expended cash funds in Illinois in the previous fiscal year in the amount of at least $200,000 for the provision of civil legal services.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/15) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-15)
Sec. 15. Foundation; distribution of funds to legal information centers, regional legal services hotlines, dispute resolution centers, self-help assistance desks, or civil legal services providers.
(a) The Foundation shall establish and administer the Illinois Equal Justice Fund. The Fund consists of all moneys remitted to the Foundation under the terms of this Act. The Foundation must deposit all moneys received under this Act into interest-bearing accounts. Administration and distribution of these funds by the Foundation does not alter their character as public funds or alter the fiduciary responsibilities attendant to the administration of public funds.
(b) The Foundation may annually retain a portion of the amounts it receives under this Section, not to exceed 5% of the amounts received by the Foundation under this Act, to reimburse the Foundation for the actual cost of administering grants and making the distributions required under this Act during that year.
(c) The distribution of moneys available after administrative costs shall be made by the Foundation in the following manner:
(1) The Foundation shall distribute moneys to legal

information centers that have demonstrated or demonstrate an ability to provide the services described in Section 10 of this Act and that otherwise comply with the requirements of this Act with the objective that one or more legal information centers will be operated in each judicial circuit of this State.

(2) The Foundation shall distribute funds to regional

legal services hotlines that have demonstrated or demonstrate an ability to provide the services described in Section 10 of this Act and that otherwise comply with the requirements of this Act.

(3) The Foundation shall distribute funds to

self-help assistance desks that have demonstrated or demonstrate an ability to provide the services described in Section 10 of this Act and that otherwise comply with the requirements of this Act.

(4) The Foundation shall distribute funds to dispute

resolution centers that have demonstrated or demonstrate compliance with the requirements of Section 5 of the Illinois Not-For-Profit Dispute Resolution Center Act.

(5) The Foundation shall distribute funds to

qualified civil legal services providers operating in one or more counties within this State. The Foundation shall determine the amounts to be distributed to each qualified civil legal services provider based upon the following criteria:

(A) the number of eligible clients served and the

nature of the civil legal services caseload of each qualified civil legal services provider compared to all other qualified civil legal services providers in this State;

(B) the qualified civil legal services provider's

satisfactory compliance with Section 50 of this Act; and

(C) the qualified civil legal services provider's

general compliance with the following standards:

(i) the quality, feasibility, and

cost-effectiveness of the civil legal services provider's legal services as evidenced by, among other things, the experience of the civil legal services provider's staff with the delivery of the type of legal assistance contemplated under the proposal; compatibility with the American Bar Association's Standards for Providers of Civil Legal Services for the Poor, where applicable; the civil legal services provider's compliance experience with other funding sources or regulatory agencies, including but not limited to federal or State agencies, bar associations or foundations, courts, IOLTA programs, and private foundations; the reputations of the civil legal services provider's principals and key staff; and the civil legal services provider's capacity to ensure continuity in representation of eligible clients with pending matters, including pending matters referred from other legal services providers;

(ii) the civil legal services provider's

knowledge of the various components of the legal services delivery system in the State and its willingness to coordinate with them as appropriate, including its capacity to:

(I) develop and increase resources from

funds other than those provided under this Act; and

(II) cooperate with State and local bar

associations, private attorneys, and pro bono programs to increase the involvement of private attorneys in the delivery of legal assistance and the availability of pro bono legal services to eligible clients; and

(iii) the civil legal services provider's

knowledge and willingness to cooperate with other civil legal services providers, community groups, public interest organizations, and human services providers in a manner that is consistent with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.

(d) The Foundation must give annual notice of the amount of moneys available for distribution; the procedure by which legal information centers, regional legal services hotlines, dispute resolution centers, self-help assistance desks, and qualified civil legal services providers can apply for moneys; and the schedule for review and distribution of moneys under this Act.
(e) The governing board of the Foundation may adopt regulations and procedures necessary to implement and enforce this Act and to ensure that the moneys allocated under this Act are used to provide services to persons in accordance with the terms of this Act.
In adopting the regulations, the governing board must comply with the following procedures:
(1) the governing board must publish a preliminary

draft of the regulations and procedures that must be distributed, together with notice of the comment period, to members of the Foundation, potential recipients of moneys, and other interested parties that the Foundation considers appropriate; and

(2) the governing board must allow a reasonable time

period for affected and interested parties to present written comment regarding the proposed regulations and procedures before the governing board adopts final regulations and procedures.

(f) The Foundation shall make payments to recipients on a calendar-year basis in quarterly installments.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/20) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-20)
Sec. 20. Other powers.
(a) The Foundation may make, enter into, and execute contracts, agreements, leases, and other instruments with any person, including without limitation any federal, State, or local governmental agency, and may take other actions that may be necessary or convenient to accomplish any purpose authorized by this Act.
(b) The Foundation may also undertake directly, or by grant or contract, the following activities to assist legal information centers, regional legal services hotlines, dispute resolution centers, self-help assistance desks, and qualified civil legal services providers:
(1) provide research, training, and technical

assistance; and

(2) serve as a clearinghouse for information.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/25) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-25)
Sec. 25. Acceptance of funds. The Foundation has the authority to receive and accept any and all grants, loans, subsidies, matching funds, reimbursements, federal grant moneys, fees for services, and other things of value from the federal or State government or any agency of any other state or from any institution, person, firm, or corporation, public or private, to be used to carry out the purposes of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/30) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-30)
Sec. 30. (Repealed).
(Source: P.A. 87-123. Repealed by P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/35) (from Ch. 5, par. 2050-35)
Sec. 35. Reports.
(a) Each recipient of moneys under this Act must annually submit a report to the Foundation. This report must include (i) either (A) an audit of the funds received from the Foundation by a certified public accountant or (B) a fiscal review approved by the Foundation setting forth the manner and amount of expenditures made with the funds received from the Foundation and (ii) a description of the programs on which they were expended. The reports are public records available for inspection upon request.
(b) The governing board of the Foundation must prepare an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and the Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court. The report must include (i) a statement of the total receipts and a breakdown by source during each of the previous 2 calendar years, (ii) a list of the names and addresses of the recipients that are currently receiving funds and that received funds in the previous year and the amounts committed to recipients for the current year and paid in the previous year, (iii) a breakdown of the amounts paid during the previous year to recipients and the amounts committed to each recipient for the current year, (iv) a breakdown of the Foundation's costs in administering the Fund, and (v) a statement of the Fund balance at the start and at the close of the previous calendar-year and the interest earned during the previous calendar-year. The report must include any notices the Foundation issued denying applications for moneys under this Act. The report, in its entirety, is a public record, and the Foundation and the Governor shall make the report available for inspection upon request.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/40)
Sec. 40. Limitations on use of funds. No funds made available to a recipient may be used for the purpose of (i) lobbying; (ii) encouraging political activities, labor or anti-labor activities, boycotts, picketing, strikes, or demonstrations; or (iii) investigative or legal compliance activities unrelated to a pending dispute. A recipient may not use funds received under this Act to file an individual action or class action under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1801 and following) or other labor laws.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/45)
Sec. 45. Responsibilities of recipients. With respect to the provision of services funded under this Act, each recipient shall ensure the following:
(1) the maintenance of quality service and, where applicable, compliance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct; and
(2) compliance with this Act in the expenditure of funds.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


(30 ILCS 765/50)
Sec. 50. Termination of funds; procedures.
(a) The Foundation may suspend or terminate funds it has authorized under this Act upon its determination that a recipient is not operating in compliance with the requirements of this Act.
(b) An action by the Foundation proposing to suspend or to terminate an existing grant of funds under this Act may not become final until the recipient has been afforded notice of the proposed action and the opportunity to be heard in accordance with the procedures established by the Foundation.
(Source: P.A. 91-584, eff. 1-1-00.)


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