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Illinois Discovery Law

Evidence – Discovery – Illinois

Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of discovery law in Illinois, but does include basic and other information.


Discovery: A procedure designed to allow disclosure of information between Plaintiffs and Defendants. Written questions, oral questioning, document production and admissions requests are generally allowed.  Discovery was designed to to prevent trial by ambush.

Interrogatories: Written questions from Plaintiff to Defendant, or from Defendant to Plaintiff. The questions are mailed to the Plaintiff, Defendant or the attorney for response in writing.  The answers or responses are usually due between 20-30 days.

Deposition: A procedure where verbal questions are asked a Plaintiff or Defendant for immediate response. Depositions are usually recorded by a court reporter, who swears the person to tell the truth before questioning begins.,/p>

Production of Documents: The method of obtaining documents from the other party relevant to the case such as all documents a party intends to introduce at trial.

Requests for Admissions: Written questions where you request the other party to admit or deny some relevant fact.

Objections: Objections may be made to all discovery questions if the questions are not relevant, or likely to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence.

Civil Procedure Rules: Virtually all states have adopted a version of civil procedure rules which include rules dealing with discovery.
Illinois Discovery Provisions

The Illinois Discovery Provisions are contained in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. The discovery provisions apply in divorce actions.

Discovery Methods: Information is obtainable through the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions, written interrogatories to parties, discovery of documents, objects or tangible things, inspection of real estate, requests to admit and physical and mental examination of persons. Duplication of discovery methods to obtain the same information should be avoided. Rule 201(a)

Scope of Discovery: A party may obtain by discovery full disclosure regarding any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking disclosure or of any other party. Rule 201(b)

Sequence of Discovery: Unless the court orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence. Rule 201(e)

Stipulations: If the parties so stipulate, discovery may take place before any person, for any purpose, at any time, or place, and in any manner.


Where Depositions May Be Taken: Depositions may be taken in the county which the deponent resides or is employed or transacts business in person, or in the case of a plaintiff-deponent, in the county in which the action is pending.

Rule 203

Persons Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken:

Within the United States or a territory subject to U.S. dominion, depositions shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of Illinois or of the United States of of the place where the examination is held or before a person appointed by the court. Rule 205(a)

In a foreign state or country depositions shall be taken before a secretary of embassy, consul general, consul, vice-consul, or consular agent of the United States, or any officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of Illinois. Rule 205(b)


A party may direct written interrogatories to any other party. A copy of the interrogatories shall be served on all other parties entitled to notice. It is the duty of the attorney directing the interrogatories to restrict them to the subject matter of the particular case. A party shall not serve more than 30 interrogatories, including the sub-parts.

A motion for leave of court to serve more than 30 interrogatories must be in writing and must set forth the proposed interrogatories and the reasons for establishing good cause for their use. Rule 213


Any party may by written request direct any other party to produce for inspection, copying, reproduction photographing, testing or sampling specified documents, objects or tangible things, or permit access to real estate for the purpose of making surface or subsurface inspections or surveys or photos, or tests or taking samples, or to disclose information calculated to lead to the discovery or whereabouts of any of these items which are relevant to the pending action. Rule 214

Physical and Mental Examinations of Persons

If a party’s physical or mental condition is in controversy, the court upon notice and on motion made within a reasonable time before trial, may order such party to submit to a physical or mental examination for a licensed professional in a discipline related to the physical or mental condition which is involved. Rule 215

Requests for Admissions

A party may serve on any other party a written request for the admission by the latter of the truth of any specified relevant fact set forth in the request. The party may also serve a written request for admission of the genuineness of any relevant documents described in the request. Rule 217

Compel Discovery

If a party or other deponent refuses to answer any question propounded upon oral examination, the examination shall be completed on other matters or adjourned, as the proponent of the question may prefer. Thereafter, on notice to all persons affected thereby, the proponent of the question may move the court for an order compelling an answer.

Rule 219

Domestic Actions Discovery Notes

If you require extra time to respond to discovery, you should ask the other side for an extension in writing.  It may also be necessary to enter an order granting the extension to protect your rights.

Discovery questions are limited in number so select the most important questions to ask the other side.  Don’t waste your requests writing questions that you already know the answer to.

Inside Illinois Discovery Law