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Videos help explain county court jurisdictional changes

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Civil Court ChangesOn January 1, 2020, changes in Florida state law and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure will go into effect, changing where a variety of court actions are heard, and The Florida Bar is supporting an educational effort to inform the public and the membership about the changes.

On the first day of 2020:

• County court jurisdictional thresholds increase to $30,000 on January 1, 2020, and to $50,000 on January 1, 2023.

• Small claims cases on January 1, 2020, will include cases up to $8,000.

• Filers will be required to include a civil cover sheet specifying the dollar amount in dispute in cases exceeding $8,000 in value.

• The new law maintains current rules that limits the provision of subsidized court mediation services to county court cases with an amount in controversy up to $15,000.

• State law provides that on January 1, 2020, appeals of county court orders or judgments with an amount in controversy greater than $15,000 will be heard by the district courts of appeal until January 1, 2023, when the provision repeals.

The Office of State Courts Administrator is distributing a County Court Jurisdiction Communications Plan to all circuit administrators. The plan includes information to be posted on court websites and social media accounts, said OSCA spokesperson Paul Flemming.

OSCA has also launched its own Know Your Court website at www.flcourts.org/Know-Your-Court and is rolling out a series of informational videos to alert members and the public to changes. Bar President John Stewart, along with various judges and clerks, appear on the videos to explain what to expect. The Bar is also posting the educational videos on its website and sharing them via its social media platforms.

One of the most significant changes will require those filing civil actions in county courts to file a cover sheet listing the amount in controversy. The cover sheets will allow court administrators to track the changes and report the impact to lawmakers by February 1, 2021.

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