STATE OF ILLINOIS
FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 05-9
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING
AN OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM FOR THE FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
By resolution passed October 14, 2005, by the Circuit Judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, designation and creation is made of Ombudsmen for purposes of being a liaison between attorneys who practice in the Fourth Judicial Circuit and judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which would result in benefits, including the following:
(a) Encouragement of constructive communication between attorneys and judges;
(b) Allow for a recognized source of communication between
attorneys and judges through a credible formalized procedure.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED pursuant to resolution of the circuit judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit that the position of Ombudsman be created for the Fourth Judicial Circuit and that the Ombudsman Program shall operate under the following guidelines:
(1) The Ombudsman’s primary responsibility will be to receive and deliver
suggestions, criticisms or complaints between members of the judiciary and attorneys in an attempt to resolve matters brought to his/her attention. However, the Ombudsman is not required to convey communication received from any attorney or judge, but has discretion in this regard to refrain from further dissemination of the suggestion, criticism, or complaint.
(2) All communications, criticism, complaints, and suggestions made to the
Ombudsman in his/her capacity as Ombudsman are considered confidential to the reporter and to the subject of the report. Any communication, criticism, complaint or suggestion may be made anonymously to the Ombudsman upon the request of the person making that communication, criticism, complaint or suggestion. The Ombudsman shall not be required to keep or maintain any written record of his/her communications or activities, except such general reports as are necessary to meet the annual reporting requirements described in paragraph (8) below. Notwithstanding the above, it is recognized that the guarantee of absolute confidentiality is not always possible, but, except in the case of a regulatory body, the Ombudsman will endeavor to advise the participants that confidentiality is not possible before further publishing the issue.
(3) If it appears that the suggestion, criticism, or complaint is required to be
reported to any regulatory body or commission, the Ombudsman shall be free to make such report. However, the reporting of any conduct of an attorney or judge to the Ombudsman will not relieve the reporter of responsibility to report said conduct to the Judicial Inquiry Board, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission or similar regulatory body, if such responsibility exists for the reporter.
(4) A communication by the Ombudsman regarding a member of the judiciary will initially be disclosed to that judge only. A communication by the Ombudsman to a practitioner will initially be disclosed to that attorney only. In the discretion of the Ombudsman, the communication may be further disclosed to the Chief Judge or to the attorney’s supervising or managing partner.
(5) At the discretion of the Ombudsman, meetings, conferences or other such
methods of conflict resolution may be used in an attempt to mediate any matter brought to the attention of the Ombudsman by agreement of the parties.
(6) Up to Nine (amended 1/8/10) Ombudsmen from throughout the circuit may be appointed by the Chief Judge, with the consent of a majority of the circuit judges, for a one-year term beginning the first day of January of any given year. The appointment is renewable from year to year.
(7) The Chief Judge shall notify the county bar association president in each
county annually of the Ombudsmen and how they may be contacted. The Chief Judge’s Office shall maintain a roster of Ombudsmen with contact information and disseminate this information to any attorney or judge who desires to utilize the program.
(8) The Ombudsmen shall report to the Chief Judge on an annual basis, which
report shall give a general evaluation of the position and a summary of the number, type and resolution of suggestions, complaints or criticisms received during the course of the year.