About the Courts
Fourth Judicial Circuit
As Florida's sixth largest trial court, the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court is recognized as one of the most efficient trial courts in the state.
55 judges, 35 at the circuit level and 20 in county courts, hear cases in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. The Fourth Circuit is comprised of Clay
) and Nassau
) Counties and is located on the North East Coast of Florida.
Florida State Courts System Overview
The following information is provided to give you an overview of the Florida State Courts System
Mission of the Florida Judicial Branch
The mission of the judicial branch is to protect rights and liberties, uphold and interpret the law, and provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
Vision of the Florida Judicial Branch
Justice in Florida will be accessible, fair, effective, responsive, and accountable.
To be accessible
, the Florida justice system will be convenient, understandable, timely, and affordable to everyone.
To be fair
, it will respect the dignity of every person, regardless of race, class, gender or other characteristic, apply the law appropriately to the circumstances of individual cases, and include judges and court staff that reflect the community's diversity.
To be effective
, it will uphold the law and apply rules and procedures consistently and in a timely manner, resolve cases with finality, and provide enforceable decisions.
To be responsive
, it will anticipate and respond to the needs of all members of society, and provide a variety of dispute resolution methods.
To be accountable
, the Florida justice system will use public resources efficiently, and in a way that the public can understand.
The Florida State Courts System
The Florida Courts System is divided into five districts that are made up of 20 judicial circuits representing Florida’s 67 counties. The mission of the Florida judicial branch is to protect rights and liberties, uphold and interpret the law, and provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
The Supreme Court of Florida
is the state’s highest court of judicial review and is located in Tallahassee. It consists of seven justices who review questions of law from the District Courts of Appeal and capital death penalty cases from the circuit courts. Initially appointed by the governor, the justices of the Supreme Court participate in a statewide merit retention election every six years.
Supreme Court of Florida Overview
District Courts of Appeal
: The state is divided into five appellate districts and the five District Courts of Appeal review decisions appealed from the circuit courts. District Court of Appeal judges are appointed by the governor and participate in merit retention elections every six years. Appeals from the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court are reviewed and decided by the First District Court of Appeal
, located in Tallahassee.
Florida has a two-tier trial court system consisting of Circuit and County courts within each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits
. Judges in the Circuit and County courts are elected by popular vote, but may be appointed by the governor when vacancies arise. Circuit and County judges serve six-year terms, at the end of which they may run for re-election. The purpose of Florida’s trial courts is to protect and declare the rights and responsibilities of the people; to uphold and interpret the law; and to provide a forum for the just and peaceful resolution of legal and factual disputes. See Map of Florida’s Circuit Courts
The trial courts include circuit and county court divisions.
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.
More information regarding court divisions can be located at the following:
Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Bar Association
Duval County Clerk
Clay County Clerk
Nassau County Clerk
Office of the State Attorney
Office of the Public Defender