Clerks no longer required to independently review certain court documents
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers (FCCC) is issuing a notice to the public about a recent amendment made by the Florida Supreme Court to Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.420 regarding the review and redaction of confidential information contained in certain court documents.
In accordance with the amendment, “the clerk shall not be required to identify and designate information as confidential,” in small claims, county civil and most circuit civil court documents.
Effective July 1, 2021, filers will be solely responsible for ensuring any confidential information contained in court records filed with the Clerk is appropriately identified for redaction in these cases. A filer is anyone who submits official court documents with the Clerk in order to start or support a legal action.
If a filer drafting a document believes it contains confidential information, they should:
Filers are required to identify the precise location of all instances of confidential information within the document – including page numbers and attachments, appendices and exhibits. The amended rule affects small claims, county civil and most circuit civil court cases, except for Jimmy Ryce civil commitments, cases stemming from sexual assault, medical malpractice filings and family law cases.
Clerks around the state are exploring options across county offices to address the amendment’s broad implementation. Clerks strongly suggest attorneys, legal professionals and self-represented litigants review the amendment and become fully familiar with the rule change.
In order to help filers prepare and reduce the risk of confidential information becoming public record, FCCC is developing a communications campaign to help educate attorneys, self-represented litigants and legal professionals on the rule change.
Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.420 outlines 23 categories of information that are automatically confidential in court records such as Social Security numbers, health records, bank account numbers, addresses of domestic violence victims and juvenile delinquency records.
Previously, Clerks would independently review all filed records to further identify and redact confidential information protected by the rule. In accordance with the amendment, Clerks are no longer required to perform this review and are only obligated to protect information in civil and small claims cases when notified by filers, by court order, or when the case itself is confidential under law.
Please see Supreme Court Opinion No. SC20-175 for the full text of the Florida Supreme Court’s amendment.
For more information on the rule change, please visit www.FLClerks.com/ConfidentialRuleChange.