Over ten years ago, a few Florida circuit courts established business courts in their own jurisdictions. These standalone business courts were subject to the funding available from each specific court, leading to the potential for inadequate funding issues. Through this process, it was realized that a state-wide business court model would be able to provide more consistent and swift resolution for business disputes across all Florida jurisdictions.
In 2018, the Business Courts Task Force was formed to evaluate the need for a statewide system that would help improve the timeliness and efficiency of business-related proceedings, which otherwise get bogged down in the current civil court structure. The Task Force, of which I am Co-Chair, met recently in Orlando for a full-day of planning. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady was in attendance at the meeting to observe the progress that has been made thus far.
The initial feedback that we’ve received is that business leaders are very interested in having a statewide business court system implemented. While there are several court structures for the new system, the Task Force has not yet decided on the final form. It is likely, however, that the state-wide business court will be divided into regions that correspond with the District Court of Appeals; meaning five business courts under one unified umbrella. While there is still much to be done, we continue to work toward the end goal and expect to have an official business court proposal prepared for the 2020 legislative session.
During the January meeting, Business Court Task Force members Douglas Bates and Michael Higer, as well as State Courts Administrator Lisa Goodner Kiel, took a moment to discuss the business court system and what it could mean for Florida. View their interviews.
Douglas Bates, Policy Committee, Business Courts Task Force
Michael Higer, Legislative Subcommittee, Business Courts Task Force
Lisa Goodner Kiel, Interim State Courts Administrator