Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, Housing - Discrimination

In proceedings involving civil rights violations in real estate transactions arising under 75 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/Art. 3, the court has discretion to appoint counsel for "a person alleging a civil rights violation or a person against whom the civil rights violation is alleged" provided that the person, in the court's opinion, is "financially unable to bear the costs of such action." 775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/10-102(B).  The attorney can petition for an award of attorneys fees, and the court in its discretion can award attorneys fees to the prevailing party. Id.  

Civil rights violations in real estate transactions prohibited by Article 3 include those based on "unlawful discrimination, familial status, source of income, or an arrest record, as defined under subsection (B-5) of Section 1-103."  775 ILCS 5/3-102.  An "arrest record" under subsection (B-5) includes "an arrest not leading to a conviction," "a juvenile record," or "criminal history record information ordered expunged, sealed, or impounded."

"Unlawful discrimination" is broadly defined as "discrimination against a person because of his or her actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, order of protection status, disability, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or unfavorable discharge from military service as those terms are defined in this Section."  775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-103(Q).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no