The Illinois JusticeCorps program is proud to announce the launch of its new Court Information Helpline – a phone resource created to aid people without lawyers trying to access the courts during the ongoing pandemic. The helpline now serves as one central location for unrepresented litigants to call for legal information and resource referrals for cases pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Prior to the pandemic, members of Illinois JusticeCorps – an AmeriCorps service program created by The Chicago Bar Foundation over ten years ago – were stationed in three of the Circuit Court of Cook County courthouses to provide legal information and resource referrals to people going to court on their own. Now that the courts have become almost exclusively remote, JusticeCorps has similarly converted their services to being remote, including spawning the Court Information Helpline.
For people without lawyers, the courts have always been an enigmatic system to navigate. Now, with all the necessary changes made due to the pandemic, the courts have become even more confusing. In addition to deciphering the law, identifying the correct court forms, and following the appropriate legal procedures, people without lawyers must also figure out when and how they should participate in their court case remotely. On top of that, they must also find resources to assist them with their legal matters all on their own when they previously could have been directed to such resources available while at court for their case.
The Helpline should help address many of these needs. The Illinois JusticeCorps members who staff the Helpline assist people without lawyers by providing information about new court operations and procedures, remote court appearances, court paperwork, filing (both in person and electronically), and additional resources available. This includes referrals to court-based advice desks run by CBF grantees, which are all being run remotely as well.
People in need of legal information or resource referrals should be directed to the Illinois JusticeCorps Helpline at (872) 529-1093. More information about what types of questions the Helpline can answer can be found here.