(735 ILCS 5/5-105)
(from Ch. 110, par. 5-105)
Leave to sue or defend as an indigent person.
(a) As used in this Section:
(1) "Fees, costs, and charges" means payments imposed
on a party in connection with the prosecution or defense of a civil action, including, but not limited to: filing fees; appearance fees; fees for service of process and other papers served either within or outside this State, including service by publication pursuant to Section 2-206 of this Code and publication of necessary legal notices; motion fees; jury demand fees; charges for participation in, or attendance at, any mandatory process or procedure including, but not limited to, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, counseling, evaluation, "Children First", "Focus on Children" or similar programs; fees for supplementary proceedings; charges for translation services; guardian ad litem fees; charges for certified copies of court documents; and all other processes and procedures deemed by the court to be necessary to commence, prosecute, defend, or enforce relief in a civil action.
(2) "Indigent person" means any person who meets one
or more of the following criteria:
(i) He or she is receiving assistance under one
or more of the following public benefits programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, General Assistance, Transitional Assistance, or State Children and Family Assistance.
(ii) His or her available income is 125% or less
of the current poverty level as established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, unless the applicant's assets that are not exempt under Part 9 or 10 of Article XII of this Code are of a nature and value that the court determines that the applicant is able to pay the fees, costs, and charges.
(iii) He or she is, in the discretion of the
court, unable to proceed in an action without payment of fees, costs, and charges and whose payment of those fees, costs, and charges would result in substantial hardship to the person or his or her family.
(iv) He or she is an indigent person pursuant to
Section 5-105.5 of this Code.
(b) On the application of any person, before, or after the commencement of
an action, a court, on finding that the applicant is an indigent person, shall
grant the applicant leave to sue or defend the action without payment of the
fees, costs, and charges of the action.
(c) An application for leave to sue or defend an action as an indigent
shall be in writing and supported by the affidavit of the applicant or, if the
applicant is a minor or an incompetent adult, by the affidavit of another
person having knowledge of the facts. The contents of the affidavit shall be
established by Supreme Court Rule. The court shall provide, through the
office of the clerk of the court, simplified forms consistent with the
requirements of this Section and applicable Supreme Court Rules to any person
seeking to sue or defend an action who indicates an inability to pay the fees,
costs, and charges of the action. The application and supporting affidavit may
be incorporated into one simplified form. The clerk of the court shall post in
a conspicuous place in the courthouse a notice no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches,
using no smaller than 30-point typeface printed in English and in Spanish,
the public that they may ask the court for permission to sue or defend a civil
action without payment of fees, costs, and charges. The notice shall be
substantially as follows:
"If you are unable to pay the fees, costs, and
charges of an action you may ask the court to allow you to proceed without paying them. Ask the clerk of the court for forms."
(d) The court shall rule on applications under this Section in a timely
manner based on information contained in the application unless the court, in
its discretion, requires the
applicant to personally appear to explain or clarify information contained in
the application. If the court finds that the applicant is an indigent person,
court shall enter an order permitting the applicant to sue or defend
without payment of fees, costs, or charges. If the application is
the court shall enter an order to that effect stating the specific reasons for
the denial. The clerk of the court shall promptly mail or deliver a copy of the
order to the applicant.
(e) The clerk of the court shall not refuse to accept and file any
appearance, or other paper presented by the applicant if accompanied by an
application to sue or defend in forma pauperis, and those papers shall be
considered filed on the date the application is presented. If the application
is denied, the order shall state a date certain by which the necessary fees,
costs, and charges must be paid. The court, for good cause shown, may allow an
applicant whose application is denied to defer payment of fees, costs, and
charges, make installment payments, or make payment upon reasonable terms and
conditions stated in the order. The court may dismiss the claims or defenses of
any party failing to pay the fees, costs, or charges within the time and in the
manner ordered by the court. A determination concerning an application to sue
in forma pauperis shall not
be construed as a ruling on the merits.
(f) The court may order an indigent person to pay all or a portion of the
fees, costs, or charges waived pursuant to this Section out of moneys recovered
by the indigent person pursuant to a judgment or settlement resulting from the
civil action. However, nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the
authority of a court to order another party to the action to pay the fees,
costs, or charges of the action.
(g) A court, in its discretion, may appoint counsel to represent an indigent
person, and that counsel shall perform his or her duties without fees, charges,
(h) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect the right of a
party to sue or defend an action in forma pauperis without the payment of fees,
costs, or charges, or the right of a party to court-appointed counsel, as
authorized by any other provision of law or by the rules of the Illinois
(i) The provisions of this Section are severable under Section 1.31 of the
Statute on Statutes.
(Source: P.A. 97-689, eff. 6-14-12; 97-813, eff. 7-13-12.)