Changes to Circuit Court Appellate Jurisdiction

Bilzin Sumberg
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Bilzin Sumberg

In its last session, the Florida Legislature passed a law that changes the appellate jurisdiction of Florida’s circuit courts and District Courts of Appeal for certain types of cases. Codified here, the new rule went into effect on January 1, 2021, and strips the circuit court of appellate jurisdiction in some instances. In these instances, appeals will be required to be filed directly with the District Courts of Appeal. Notwithstanding, the circuit courts notably retain jurisdiction over certain cases, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Appeals of local final administrative orders of code enforcement boards
  • Appeals of final agency action with respect to a permit or license under Chapter 373 of the Florida Statutes (governing state water resources)
  • Appeals of final agency action with respect to a permit or license required under Chapter 253 of the Florida Statutes (governing use of state lands and property)
  • Appeals of voluntary binding arbitration decisions
  • Appeals of the supervisor of elections determination of ineligibility
  • Appeals by the property appraiser of a decision by a value adjustment board
  • If provided for by the political subdivision, appeals of prequalification process and procedures for construction contractors pursuant to Chapter 255 of the Florida Statutes, and the presumption that certain prequalified construction contractors are qualified to perform construction work

Importantly, the statute does not directly address extraordinary writs, such as a petition for writ of certiorari, which is the proper mechanism to appeal a zoning resolution. Although this new law creates a certain level of ambiguity regarding extraordinary writs, pursuant to the Florida Constitution, appellate rules, and case law, the circuit court appellate division is likely to retain jurisdiction over extraordinary writs, including appeals of zoning resolutions. We will continue to monitor legal developments that result from this change.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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