The Florida court system is currently comprised of the Supreme Court, 5 district courts of appeal, 20 circuit courts and 67 county courts. Beginning January 1, 2023, a sixth district court of appeal will be added to the system. Each layer of the Florida judicial system has a distinct role in providing justice across the state.
The highest appellate court in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court’s 150+ years span a time when the state was the least populated (1845) to the present (2022) when it ranks third nationwide. Decisions stemming from Florida’s highest court have helped shape, certainly, the state itself, but also the nation.
District Courts of Appeal
There are currently five District Courts of Appeal in Florida, located respectively in Tallahassee, Lakeland, Miami, West Palm Beach and Daytona Beach. The new, Sixth District Court of Appeal will be located in Polk County, beginning January 1, 2023. As a general rule, decisions of the district courts of appeal represent the final appellate review of litigated cases.
Trial Courts - Circuit
There are 20 judicial circuits in the Florida court system. Circuit courts have general trial jurisdiction over matters not assigned by statute to the county courts and also hear appeals from county court cases. Some circuits are made up of multiple counties.
Trial Courts - County
The Florida Constitution establishes that there is ONE county court in each of Florida’s 67 counties. The county courts are sometimes referred to as "the people's courts," as a large portion of the courts' work involves a myriad of citizen disputes, such as traffic offenses, less serious criminal matters (misdemeanors), and relatively small monetary disputes.
Florida Supreme Court – located at 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399
District Courts of Appeal – First District Court of Appeal located at 2000 Drayton Drive Tallahassee, FL 32399
Judicial or Circuit Court – Fourth Circuit - located at 501 West Adams Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
County - Duval County Courthouse located at 501 West Adams Street, Room 2291 Jacksonville, FL 32202
Wait! How can the Circuit Court and the County Court be in the same place? Florida has a two-tier trial court system consisting of Circuit and County courts within each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits.
The circuit court divisions handle cases pertaining to:
- criminal (felonies with related misdemeanors),
- civil (disputes over $15,001),
- domestic relations (dissolutions, child support, name changes, injunctions for domestic and repeat violence),
- probate (estates, trusts, guardianships, mental health, substance abuse),
- juvenile delinquency, and
- juvenile dependency (model court where all matters pertaining to one family are heard by one judge including domestic relations and domestic violence issues).
The county court divisions handle cases pertaining to:
- criminal (misdemeanor, county and municipal ordinances, traffic),
- civil (disputes over $5,001 to $15,000),
- landlord tenant,
- small claims (disputes up to $5,000), and
- non-criminal traffic