The Florida court system has two tiers of trial courts; the circuit courts and county courts. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over trials not assigned by statute to the county courts and hear appeals from county courts. Thus, circuit courts in Florida are both the highest trial courts and the lowest appellate courts.
Traditionally, the circuit courts had jurisdiction over civil matters involving disputes for more than $15,000. On the other hand, county courts are home to small claims and since 1992 have only had jurisdiction over disputes of $15,000 or less.
In May of 2019, a bill was signed into law that would raise the county courts’ jurisdictional ceiling from $15,000 to $30,000. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020. The bill also includes a future raise to $50,000 on January 1, 2023.
The bill will cause cases above $15,000, which are typically reserved for circuit court, to be brought in county court. Whether the county courts have the resources to handle a court docket that may almost double, is yet to be seen.