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Levin College of Law

Florida Case Law

This guide describes the structure of the state courts in Florida and explains how to find, validate, and cite court decisions.

Florida Court System

Diagram showing Jurisdiction of Florida Courts from

NOTE:  Most appeals from County Courts now go directly to the DCA, not the Circuit Court.  For more information, visit

Source: Florida Courts Know Your Court

Florida Court Websites

Florida District Courts of Appeal

Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida

Circuit Court
(trial court)
Counties Covered Official Website
1st Judicial Circuit Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton
2nd Judicial Circuit

Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty,
3rd Judicial Circuit Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison,
Suwannee, Taylor
4th Judicial Circuit Clay, Duval, Nassau
5th Judicial Circuit Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Sumter
6th Judicial Circuit Pasco, Pinellas
7th Judicial Circuit Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Volusia
8th Judicial Circuit Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, Union
9th Judicial Circuit Orange, Osceola
10th Judicial Circuit Hardee, Highlands, Polk
11th Judicial Circuit Miami-Dade
12th Judicial Circuit DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota
13th Judicial Circuit Hillsborough
14th Judicial Circuit Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson,
15th Judicial Circuit Palm Beach
16th Judicial Circuit Monroe
17th Judicial Circuit Broward
18th Judicial Circuit Brevard, Seminole
19th Judicial Circuit Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie
20th Judicial Circuit Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee

Florida County Courts

Each of Florida's 67 counties has its own county court with its own website.  To find a county court website, go to a search engine, such as Google, and type <COUNTY NAME> County Court.  For example, a search for the Alachua County Court leads to the website at


The Pardo Principle

Decisions of the Florida Supreme Court are binding on all lower courts in the state.  Decisions of a District Court of Appeal are binding on the lower courts (i.e., the Circuit Courts and County Courts) within its jurisdiction.  For example, decisions of the Third District Court of Appeal are binding on the 11th and 16th Circuit Courts and the Monroe and Miami-Dade County Courts.

Normally, decisions of a District Court of Appeal are not binding on lower courts outside of its jurisdiction, but there is a notable exception that has been called "the Pardo principle":

[A] trial court [in Florida] must follow any decision of first impression by any one of Florida’s five district courts of appeal.

- Keith W. Rizzardi, Controlling Jurisdiction and the Duty to Disclose Adverse Authority: Florida's District Courts of Appeal Reign Supreme on Matters of First Impression, 85 Fla. B.J. 46, 46 (2011) (discussing Pardo v. State, 596 So. 2d 665, 667 (Fla. 1992)).