Supreme Court orders magistrates be used in Florida foreclosure cases
The Florida Supreme Court issued an order today requiring the state’s circuit courts to hire magistrates to hear foreclosure cases in an effort to clear a docket-clogging backlog of hundreds of thousands of files.
The order was in response to recommendations made by the Foreclosure Initiative Workgroup, a committee of judges and court administrators that formed in January.
Magistrates are common in family court, but are rarely used in foreclosure actions. Typically, they will make recommendations on how to rule on a case, which is then signed off on by a judge.
According to the ruling, foreclosure court magistrates will be appointed by chief judges, must be members of the Florida Bar and cannot practice law of the “same case type” in the county or court where the magistrate serves.
Some foreclosure defense attorneys criticized the move, questioning whether the magistrates will have enough substantive knowledge of the law to handle foreclosure cases and how they will be held accountable since they are not elected as traditional judges are.
Copy of the Supreme Court Order below…