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Illinois Public Records

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140) and Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120) were enacted to promote public access to government information and public records. The latter includes books, writings, reports, letters, forms, memoranda, photos, maps, microfilms, recordings, and electronic data used or controlled by a public body.

Examples of records that are exempt from public access include those that would violate personal privacy rights, endanger citizens or government entities, or are confidential by law.

On this page you can review and access statewide resources in IL.  The databases you’ll find below are the more useful and popular ones.  We organize databases from cities and counties separately, so to find those, use the tools on the left.  If you are looking for license information today, use that menu option on the side.

  • Court System - The entry point for all cases in Illinois is the Circuit Clerk. There are 102 Circuit Clerks, one for each county. The next level up is the Circuit Court and Arbitration Panels. There are 23 circuits for the 102 counties and they hear most cases in Illinois. Arbitration panels are panels of 3 attorneys and they handle lawsuits of $30,000 or less in Cook County, and $50,000 or less in 16 other counties. The next level up is the Appellate Court. There are five district appeals courts and they handle appeals from Circuit Courts and administrative agencies. At the top is the Supreme Court, which handles cases from the appellate courts and circuit courts, as well as the review of death sentence.  Illinois Court Records
  • Criminal Records - Felony, Misdemeanor, DWI/DUI, and Preliminary Hearings are all handled at Circuit Court. As most Circuit Courts provide their information online, disposed criminal case information is readily available to the public in Illinois.  To find these and other data, refer to our Illinois Criminal Records area.
  • Vital Records – Birth and death certificates are provided by: Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, 605 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62702-5097, (217) 782-6553, Fax: (217) 523-2648.  Go to our Vital Records page for historical city & county birth indexes; the Social Security Death Index; a Secretary of State death index; and county & city death, obituary, cemetery, burial, and genealogy databases; state, county, and local marriage databases (most are historical); and 60 links to county court divorce databases.

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