For the past two weeks, we’ve been looking at the sources of appellate jurisdiction on the civil and criminal dockets of the Illinois Supreme Court, analyzing how heavily the Court inclines to reviewing final over interlocutory decisions. We’ve shown that throughout its recent history, although appeals from final judgments under Supreme Court Rule 301 form the largest single portion of the Court’s docket, such appeals are by no means all or nearly all of the Court’s cases. Today, we address the civil docket for the final six years of our period of study, 2010-2015.
The data for 2010 is reported in Table 146 below. Rule 301 appeals were 69.7% of the civil docket that year, slightly below the Rule 301 share for 2008 and 2009. Certified question appeals under Rule 308 were another 15.15% of the civil docket – a major increase over the Court’s trend in the previous five years. Appeals under Rule 304 – final judgments disposing of less than an entire proceeding and certain enumerated types of judgments – amounted to another 9.09% of the Court’s civil docket, a significant drop from 2006-2008. The Court heard one case each pursuant to Rules 302 and 307 – 3.03% of the civil docket.
The following year, appeals pursuant to Rule 302 went even higher, with the Court hearing 27 cases (77.14% of the civil docket). Rule 308 appeals were down to 8.57% of the docket (3 cases). Rule 304 appeals were slightly up, amounting to 11.43% of the civil docket in 2010 (4 cases).
The data for 2012 is reported in Table 148. For the year, appeals from final judgments under Rule 301 fell back to a rate slightly below the long term trend – 57.5% of the docket (23 cases). Appeals under Rule 304 went higher, amounting to 15% of the docket (6 cases). Appeals under Rule 308 were 12.5% of the Court’s docket, and cases under Rule 307 – interlocutory appeals as of right – amounted to 10%. The Court also heard one civil appeal on a certified question from the Seventh Circuit in 2012.
For 2013, appeals from final judgments comprised a larger fraction of the Court’s civil docket than ever before – 82.35% of the case load (28 cases). Rule 304 appeals fell to 5.88% of the Court’s docket, and the Court heard one case each under the several remaining jurisdictional bases.
The data for 2014 is reported below in Table 150. Appeals from final judgments under Rule 301 rose to a new high for our study period – 85.19% of the Court’s civil docket. The Court heard civil cases under only two other rules during 2014 – 2 direct appeals under Rule 302, 7.41% of the docket, and one appeal each under Rule 304 and statutory jurisdiction.
The Court’s civil docket returned to something more in line with its long-term trends in 2015. Appeals from final judgments fell to 56.82% of the Court’s civil docket. Direct appeals under Rule 302 were up substantially, amounting to 18.18% of the Court’s civil docket (8 cases). Appeals under Rule 304 were up somewhat to 11.36% of the docket (5 cases). The Court heard three civil cases pursuant to various statutory sources of jurisdiction (6.82%), and one case each pursuant to Rules 306, 307 and 308.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s jurisdictional data in the criminal docket for the years 2010-2015.