OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

State Courts System

Clerks of Court

What is the purpose of the program?

The Clerk of the Circuit Court, established by the Constitution of 1838, is the public trustee for the county. The clerk serves county governments by acting in their capacity as Clerk to the Board, Clerk to the Court, Keeper of the Public Records, Comptroller and Internal Auditor of county funds.

What are the responsibilities of the Clerks of Court?

The clerk of court serves many county and court functions.
  • As clerk of the circuit court, some of their duties include having custody of court records; keeping minutes of court proceedings; and receiving and accounting for all moneys received in connection with court proceedings, including fines, costs and civil penalties.
  • In addition to serving as clerk of the circuit court, these officers may also serve as clerk and accountant to the board of county commissioners, county auditor, clerk of the county court, and as an agent of the Florida Department of Revenue.
  • Clerks also collect money for certain services, such as filing fees and collection of fines and child support payments.  The revenues from these collections are used to fund the state courts and the county clerks of court offices.

How are the Clerks of Court structured?

Each of Florida's 67 counties has a clerk of court. Each clerk of the circuit court is a constitutional officer elected by residents of their county. In addition to the clerks and their individual offices, there are two entities that support the clerks of court statewide.

The Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation is a statewide public corporation established by law to perform several functions for all 67 Clerks of Court, including:

  • develop and certify a statewide uniform system of performance measures and standards to determine the fiscal management; operational efficiency; and effective collection of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs for each clerk;
  • make recommendations to the Legislature concerning changes in the various court-related fines, fees, services charges, and court costs established by law; and
  • support the clerks of court by reviewing and certifying court related proposed budgets under the oversight of the Florida Legislature, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Chief Financial Officer.

The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers is a statewide, non-profit member organization that provides a wide range of services to the clerks, including:

  • the Comprehensive Case Information System, a secured internet portal providing a single point of search for statewide court case information;
  • information technology assistance and support;
  • MyFloridaCounty.com, which allows individuals to access official records and make inquiries and online payments for child support, traffic citations, and any other transaction that would normally be handled through the clerks' walk-in counters or mailrooms; and
  • software applications for child support and court case maintenance.                            

How are these activities funded?

Clerks of court are required to fund their offices using revenues derived from service charges, court costs, filing fees, and fines assessed in civil and criminal proceedings.

Updates

Government Accountability.  Section 28.35, Florida Statutes, requires the corporation to develop and certify a uniform system of workload measures and standards for court-related functions. These workload measures and workload performance standards must be designed to facilitate an objective determination of the performance of each clerk in accordance with minimum standards for fiscal management, operational efficiency, and effective collection of fines, fees, service charges, and court costs. The 2019 Legislature enacted Ch. 2019-15, Laws of Florida, which requires the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to notify the Legislature quarterly if a clerk is not meeting workload performance standards.  Previously, there was not a time frame for reporting any deficiencies.


Courts. The 2019 Legislature enacted Ch. 2019-58, Laws of Florida, to address funding and budgeting by the Clerks of the Circuit Courts. The law permits the Clerks to carry forward unspent funds from the prior fiscal year and any remaining funds in the Clerks of Court Trust Fund for budgetary purposes. The law also clarifies when excess funds in the trust fund must be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Florida Clerks of Court Study, Report 19-CLERKS, November 2019
Assessment, Collection, and Distribution of Fines and Fees in Criminal Cases, Report 19-14, November 2019

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports

2019 Annual Assessments and Collections Report, Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers.
Clerk of the Circuit Courts Audits, Florida Department of Financial Services
Study of the Effectiveness of Collections in the Florida Courts, The National Center for State Courts, November 2012.
The Florida Clerk of Courts Operations Corporation provides other clerk-related reports, including historical budget information, on its website.
The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers provides other clerk-related reports on its website.
The Auditor General reports on local government operations are available on its website.

Websites of Interest
Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, Clerk Directory and Websites


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article V, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 28, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Chris Hart IV, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Association of Court Clerks & Comptrollers, 850-921-0808


Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers

John Dew, Executive Director of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation, 850-386-2223

Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation