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The Illinois Rules of Evidence: A Color-Coded Guide

TDR partner Gino L. DiVito has prepared a color-coded guide that compares the new Illinois Rules of Evidence with the Federal Rules of Evidence and provides relevant commentary on both sets of rules. The guide also includes the Federal Rules of Evidence as amended effective December 1, 2014.

On November 24, 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of a broad spectrum of judges, lawyers, law professors, and legislators to serve on its newly created Special Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence. The Court directed the Committee to draft a comprehensive code of evidence for the state based upon Illinois statutes, rules, and common law. After a year-long process, the Committee presented the Court its proposals for the codification of Illinois evidence rules. The Court then invited written comments from the bar and scheduled public hearings for oral presentations in Chicago and Springfield in May 2010.

After considering both the written comments and those made at the public hearings, the Committee reconvened to revise some of its initial proposals and to add comments to a few individual rules as well as a general commentary. These were then submitted to the Court. On September 27, 2010, the Court approved and promulgated the Committee’s proposals, setting January 1, 2011 as the effective date for the codified rules. Referred to in Rule 1102 as the Illinois Rules of Evidence, the new rules are modeled on and similar to, but not wholly identical to, the Federal Rules of Evidence. They contain the same numbering system and address evidence issues in similar fashion.

Effective December 1, 2011, eleven months after the Illinois Rules were adopted, the Federal Rules of Evidence were revised. Though significant, the revisions were made only for stylistic purposes; they were intended to have no substantive effect. The revisions represent an effort to make the rules more understandable merely by adopting clear and concise style conventions, resulting in significant formatting changes and the elimination of inconsistent, ambiguous, repetitive, and archaic words. Also, most of the titles of the rules, as well as those for most of the subsections, were altered (sometimes, just to correct inconsistent use of uppercase or lowercase letters). And many titles were added for former and new subsections.

This guide provides a redline comparison of the Illinois Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules in effect at the time that the Illinois Rules were adopted.  It highlights the differences between the Illinois and Federal versions, and it highlights the portions of the Illinois Rules that substantively changed Illinois law. The guide also includes the official commentary of the Committee, the text of the Federal Rules following the December 1, 2011 stylistic amendments (and as amended effective December 1, 2014), and DiVito's commentary on both the Illinois and Federal Rules.

The guide may be downloaded below.  It also may be ordered in print from the Illinois State Bar Association.

Click here to download The Illinois Rules of Evidence: A Color-Coded Guide (PDF).

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