Florida Court System
The Florida court system is made up of three federal district courts, a state supreme court, a state court of appeals, and trial courts. Each court has general and limited jurisdiction and serves a different purpose. Jurisdiction is a word to describe both the geographical location of the court’s service area AND the types of legal matters that they have judgement over.
The image below depicts the flow of cases through Florida’s state court system. Cases typically originate in the trial courts and can be appealed to courts higher up in the system.
If your legal matter deals with an issue of Federal law, then your case will proceed in Federal Court. Florida has three Federal Courts, the Northern District, the Middle District and the Southern District. The Districts are based on the counties. The law firm of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida files with the Middle District of the Federal Courts system.
The Middle District of Florida has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
It holds court in the cities of Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa Bay.
There are five court divisions, each covering the following counties:
The Fort Myers Division, covering Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties.
The Jacksonville Division, covering Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, and Union counties.
The Ocala Division, covering Citrus, Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties.
The Orlando Division, covering Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties.
The Tampa Division, covering Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
Click the Federal Courts button below to find more resources about how and where to file in federal court, based on your county of residence.