In 1964, the Illinois Constitution was amended by the voters to consolidate the court system in the state. As a result of this consolidation, there are three levels of courts: Supreme Court, Appellate Court, and Circuit Court.
The Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the State of Illinois. It has seven justices who are elected from the respective judicial districts for a term of ten years. The Supreme Court has general administration and supervisory authority over all the courts in the State of Illinois.
The Appellate Court hears appeals from the Circuit Court. There are five appellate Court districts in Illinois. Cook County comprises the first district. The remaining 101 counties in the state are divided into four districts. DuPage County is in the 2nd District, and the appellate court is located in Elgin, Illinois. Judges of the Appellate Courts are elected from their respective districts for a term of ten years.
The Unified Trial Court is the Circuit Court. Circuit Judges are elected from their respective circuits for a term of six years. Associate Judges serve in the circuit and are appointed by the Circuit Judges for a term of four years.
One Circuit Judge is elected by vote of all the Circuit Judges to serve a three year term as Chief Judge. The Chief Judge has general administrative authority in the circuit, subject to the overall authority of the Supreme Court.
Circuit Judges may hear any type of case assigned to them. Associate Judges may hear any matter assigned to them, except the trial of a criminal case in which the defendant is charged with an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Associate Judges may be given special permission from the Supreme Court to hear these cases.
The Circuit Court Clerk is the keeper of the records and files of the Circuit Court and is elected by the voters of DuPage County for a term of four years.
DuPage, Cook and Will Counties are single circuit counties which means that the boundaries of the circuit are the same as the county.