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									                            ADJUDICATION ELEMENTS
Resources that directly contribute to processing cases through the court system.

As required by Article V of the Florida Constitution, justices and judges exercise the
judicial powers of the state in all court jurisdictions. They effectuate the essential
mission of the judicial branch which is to protect rights and liberties, uphold and interpret
the law, and provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Judicial Assistants
Judicial assistants provide highly responsible and independent administrative,
secretarial, and clerical support to assigned justices and judges. They are often involved
in developing work processes and may perform case management functions that
support judges in their primary constitutional role.

Law Clerks and Central Staff Attorneys
Law clerks employed in both the appellate and circuit courts and central staff attorneys
employed in the appellate courts provide general legal research assistance to justices
and judges, including the preparation of legal memoranda and court orders and often
specialize in specific types of cases (e.g., post-conviction cases and workers
compensation appeals). Their work enhances the processing of cases and improves the
quality of judicial decisions by identifying and analyzing relevant laws and cases before
the court. Central staff attorneys also have dedicated administrative support utilized
similar to support staff in private law firms. Additional information may be found at:

General Magistrates and Hearing Officers
General magistrates and hearing officers perform quasi-judicial functions in the trial
courts that are routine, computational or managerial in nature under the authority of the
court. Specifically, magistrates and hearing officers preside over hearings (e.g., family,
child support, and civil traffic cases), conduct status or case management conferences,
establish attorney fees and costs, submit recommended orders to judges, and ensure
the collection of fines. Magistrates and hearing officers also have dedicated
administrative support similar to the way in which judges have judicial assistants.
Additional information may be found at:

Senior Judges
Senior judges are retired judges serving on temporary judicial assignment in the
appellate or trial courts. They are a flexible resource used to provide coverage,
alleviate backlogs of pending cases, and to preside over complex lengthy trials that
would place significant demands on traditional judge time. Additional information may
be found at:
Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation
Alternative dispute resolution/mediation provides the public with alternative, non-
adversarial methods of resolving cases which allow for self-determination and
empowerment of the parties, improved resolutions for children, cost and time savings to
litigants, reduced demand for judicial resources, and the reduced occurrence of
modification proceedings and appeals. Additional information may be found at: and

Case Management
Case managers assist judges by moving cases through the various stages of the trial
court process. Specifically, case managers perform intake, screening, evaluation,
monitoring, tracking, coordinating, scheduling, and referral activities guiding cases to
disposition. Judges, attorneys, and parties depend on case managers to perform these
functions, leading to greater certainty, predictability, and efficiency (e.g., timeliness) in
how a case is progressing through the system. Additional information may be found at:

Self-Help Services
Currently, self-help services in Florida are extremely limited, with significant variation in
service delivery across the few counties actually providing assistance to litigants without
attorneys. Recently, the state courts system has determined that self-help services
should be provided, in part, by the trial court system within a framework that includes
services also provided by other entities such as the clerks of court, law libraries, referral
agencies, legal service providers, and pro bono attorneys. The purpose of these
services is to provide improved access, information, resources, case management, and
procedural assistance to self-represented litigants. Additional information may be found

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