State Court Cases

Illinois law (735 ILCS 5/2-807) establishes a presumption that any residual funds in class action settlements or judgments will go to organizations like the CBF that improve access to justice for low-income Illinois residents. Courts have the discretion to award up to 50% of these funds to other organizations that serve the public good as part of a settlement if the court finds good cause to do so. In any event, at least 50% of any residual funds in class action cases must go to one or more organizations like the CBF that promote or provide access to justice for low-income Illinoisans.

Courts in Cook County can fulfill the purposes of this Act by directing cy pres awards to The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) or one or more of the many outstanding legal aid organizations the CBF supports. As the charitable arm of The Chicago Bar Association, the CBF supports all of the major pro bono and legal aid organizations serving the Chicago area; a variety of court-based advice desks and pro bono programs serving the state and federal courts; and several important statewide access to justice initiatives.

More information on this state statute and organizations eligible to receive residual funds is available here, and a recent article provides a good primer on how the statute works. Sample language that can be used for settlements of Illinois class actions is available here.

For questions or additional information, please contact CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves at bglaves@chicagobar.org or 312-554-1205.