A Caution on Court Opinions
When the Appellate or Supreme Court files an opinion, it will be posted on this website as a “Slip” opinion. Slip opinions are not yet final. Parties may file petitions for rehearing within 21 days of the opinion’s filing under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 367(a), which may result in a new or modified opinion. Further, the court may modify its opinion on its own motion. Caution is advised when citing a Slip opinion, as it may yet change.
When the court no longer has jurisdiction over the case, the opinion is considered “Released.” This often occurs when the mandate—the instructions for the lower court or administrative agency from the court’s ruling—is sent. It may also occur when a higher court is considering an appeal of the court’s judgment. Released opinions will ordinarily not change substantively. The Reporter of Decisions will correct grammar and punctuation pursuant to the style manual to publish the Released opinion, at which point its status will be “Final.” A Released or Final opinion can be cited with confidence.
In certain uncommon circumstances, the Appellate or Supreme Court may recall its own mandate, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 368. Additionally, the Supreme Court possesses supervisory authority to direct the Appellate Court to withdraw an opinion where appropriate. In either situation, a Released or Final opinion might then change substantively. This occurs only rarely.
All of the foregoing also applies to the Appellate Court’s unpublished orders under Rule 23(b), except that unpublished orders do not receive editing for publication and will go simply from a Slip order to Final; such orders also may be cited only under the terms outlined in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 23(e).