District Courts of Appeal
Florida Supreme Court
The Courts and Judges page of the Directory & Links database has links to all of the court websites available in Florida.
The Florida court system consists of the Supreme Court in Tallahassee; five district courts of appeal which have appellate jurisdiction for most cases, located in Tallahassee, Daytona Beach, Lakeland (with a branch in Tampa), Miami and West Palm Beach; county courts in each of Florida's 67 counties; and 20 circuit courts having jurisdiction over one or more counties.
The need for sufficient and stable funding of Florida’s courts is a constant one, but in recent years this need has become more urgent. Florida's Office of the State Courts Administrator provides current information on court funding sources and proposals.
County Courts, which are courts of limited jurisdiction, handle among other things:
- County and city ordinance violations, including traffic infractions.
- Minor criminal offenses.
- Civil cases involving amounts of $15,000 or less, such as landlord-tenant and small claims disputes.
Circuit Courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction, handle, among other matters:
- Domestic relations cases such as dissolution of marriage (divorce), guardianship, juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency (cases of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment.)
- Major criminal offenses.
- Probate matters, such as the processing of wills and settling of estates of deceased persons.
- Civil cases involving amounts greater than $15,000.
- Appeals from county court judgments, except when a state statute or provision of the state constitution is held invalid.
District Courts of Appeal, which sit in panels of three judges, or en banc (special cases), decide appeals from circuit courts in most criminal and civil cases. They also have jurisdiction to decide appeals from county courts when (1) a state statute or provision of the state constitution is held invalid, or (2) for orders or judgments of a county court which are certified to be of great public importance and are accepted for review. In Florida, district courts of appeal are courts of finality in many instances.
The Florida Supreme Court, has seven justices, decides the most important legal issues in Florida. Among other issues, the court decides:
- Constitutional questions.
- District court decisions holding invalid laws or provisions of the state constitution.
- Questions certified by the district courts as being of great public importance or in conflict with another district court's decision.
- Conflicts between those courts or between district courts and the Supreme Court.
- Bond validation judgments.
- The legal sufficiency of Public Service Commission rulings on electric, gas, or telephone utilities rates or service.
- The legal sufficiency of all judgments imposing the death penalty.