Who Can Exercise Eminent Domain Laws?

October 7, 2021


The State of Illinois has the inherent power to acquire private property by eminent domain for a public use. All other political subdivisions or subordinate units of Illinois government, as distinguished from the State of Illinois, can exercise the power of eminent domain only when specifically granted that power by state statute from the Illinois General Assembly. The only exception is home rule municipalities in Illinois, which derive their power to use eminent domain from the Illinois Constitution in Article 7, Section 6. The use of eminent domain is limited by the Article I, Section 15 of the Illinois Constitution and the Illinois Eminent Domain Act (735 ILCS 30/1-1-1 et seq), which regulates and restricts the use of the eminent domain in Illinois. Therefore, all condemning authorities using the power of eminent domain in Illinois are limited by the statutory provisions of the Illinois Eminent Domain Act.

For ease of reference, the Illinois Eminent Domain Act lists the various government units that have been delegated the power of eminent domain from the Illinois legislature. Other than the various political subdivisions and units of local government, the State of Illinois has also granted the power to condemn private property by eminent domain to public utility companies for the construction of certain utility improvements.

A few common entities that typically have the power to engage in eminent domain are:

  • Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
  • Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (Illinois Tollway)
  • Forest Preserve Districts
  • Illinois Municipalities
  • Illinois Counties
  • School Districts
  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)
  • Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
  • Park Districts
  • Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA)

Defending the Right of Property Ownership