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In civil cases, a one-time fee is assessed in filing a lawsuit. This cost varies, depending on which county the case is filed in and the nature of the case. There can also be a fee assessed for filing an “Answer,” or other pleadings in a case, again, on a one-time basis. A separate charge is assessed for service of summons by the sheriff. You may also have to pay for the cost of requesting a jury trial in your civil case. The local Circuit Clerk can provide you with such information. For information about circuit clerks offices in Illinois go to http://www.state.il.us/court/CircuitCourt/default.asp.
No court costs are assessed up front to persons who are charged with criminal or traffic offenses, although these can be assessed along with a fine at the end of the case if you are found, or plead, guilty. Costs do not increase based on the number of times you appear in court before your case is resolved.
“Court costs” are to be distinguished from other costs of litigation, such as depositions, expert witnesses, and attorney’s fees. Court costs are also different from charges assessed by a judge such as fines, or restitution, and from money judgments that might be awarded by a judge or jury in a civil case.
In civil cases, a successful litigant can ask and receive a judgment for court costs incurred in bringing suit. This should be asked for in the complaint. Ordinarily, attorney’s fees and other costs of litigation are not recoverable, but this depends upon a variety of factors, including applicable statutes, contract provisions, etc… You should consult an attorney about this whether you are a potential plaintiff, or defendant.