Today we’re beginning a series of posts examining the declining dockets at the Appellate Court and assessing the impact on the Supreme Court’s work.

Below, we report the District-by-District new filings numbers for civil cases, 1997-2000 (all data comes from the Illinois Courts Annual Report Statistical Summaries – we begin with 1997 because that’s as far back as the filings are posted.)

Of course, First District filings dwarf the rest of the state.  Filings were up about six percent from 1997 to 1998, but total filings consistently declined after that – 2,368 new cases in 1999 and 2,109 in 2000.  Second District filings didn’t decline at all – there were 751 new cases filed in 1997 and 839 in 2000.  Third District civil filings were down about nine percent during these years, going from 568 new cases in 1997 to 518 in 2000.  Fourth District filings were down only slightly, from 632 new cases in 1997 to 605 in 2000.

The Fifth District sustained the biggest drop of all.  There were 757 new cases in the Fifth during 1997, but only 587 in 1998, 566 in 1999 and 578 in 2000.

Next time, we’ll review the criminal filings for the years 1997 through 2000.

Image courtesy of Flickr by GPA Photo Archive (no changes).