Guiding Civil Case Settlement Conferences and Their Aftermath: The Need to Amend Illinois Supreme Court Rule 218

33 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2008  

Jeffrey A. Parness

Northern Illinois University - College of Law

Date Written: July 2, 2008

Abstract

Written civil procedure laws on pretrial conferences in civil actions in Illinois trial courts historically have spoken chiefly to trial preparation. More recently, such laws have recognized explicitly case management and settlement objectives. Trial preparation and case management conference procedures are described better in Illinois Supreme Court Rules and understood better in the legal community. Comparable guidelines and understanding of settlement conference procedures are lacking. Confusion has arisen in several areas of significant practical import, including judicially compelled and invited participation in settlement conference talks, procedural requisites for enforceable agreements arising during such talks, and same and later case enforcement jurisdiction.

Amendments to Illinois Supreme Court rule 218 addressing settlement conferencing and its aftermath would promote the more "convenient administration of justice" in the Illinois circuit courts. In particular, lawmakers should consider possible changes that speak to compelled and invited attendance, the procedural requisites necessary for valid contracts, and same and later case enforcement of settlement contracts. Fortunately, there are good models available from other American states. Amendments to Rule 218 should not alter dramatically current Illinois court practices, but rather would clarify and unify settlement conference procedures.

Keywords: Civil Procedure, Settlement, Trial Judges, Case Management, Pre-trial Conference

Suggested Citation

Parness, Jeffrey A., Guiding Civil Case Settlement Conferences and Their Aftermath: The Need to Amend Illinois Supreme Court Rule 218 (July 2, 2008). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1154668

Jeffrey A. Parness (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University - College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

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