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Legal Research: Florida

It is recommended that an attorney be consulted when an interpretation of the law is needed. UCF library staff are not able to provide any legal advice. Legal Assistance Information

How do I translate the numbers and letters to find a case?

The first number is the volume and the last number is the beginning page of the case in that volume. The abbreviation in the middle identifies the name of the publication. Example:

  • 773 So. 2d 524
    • The report of Gore v. Harris, decided by the Florida Supreme Court in 2000, begins on page 524 in volume 773 of the Southern Reporter, Second Series.

What's the difference between the circuit and district courts?

In Florida, the circuit courts are the trial courts at the local level, and the district courts (e.g., 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach) are the appellate courts between the circuit courts and the Florida Supreme Court.

In the federal court system, the names are reversed; the district courts are the trial courts within each state (e.g., U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division) and the circuit courts (e.g., U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit in Atlanta) are the appellate courts between the district courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where else in Orlando can I find legal materials?

Be sure to ask at the UCF Library's Research & Information Desk, just in case the title you're seeking is available in the UCF Library as part of some other material, but is not listed individually in the catalog. Two local law schools have some materials not found at UCF:

Why are huge sections of pages missing from the Southern Reporter, Second & Third Series?

The UCF Library does not have a print version of the complete Southern Reporter, Second Series. We only have the Florida Cases version, which extracts the pages from the full set.

The page numbering from the full set is retained, so the page number citations in Florida Cases match the page numbers in Southern Reporter, Second Series. For example, the Florida Cases volume for 868 So. 2d is missing pages 9-497 and 702-1191 because those pages deal with states other than Florida, but the case reported on page 1192 of Florida Cases is still able to be cited as 868 So. 2d 1192.

To retrieve the text of cases from other states reported in Southern Reporter, Second Series, use the LexisNexis Academic database.

How do I find the Florida Lemon Law?

You first have to figure out that it is called the Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act.

In the index of the Florida Statutes, look under the heading "Short Titles" for a list of the laws in Florida with official names. The "Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act" begins at Chapter 681.10 in the Florida Statutes.

If you don't know whether a named law is state or federal, consult Shepard's Acts and Cases By Popular Names, Federal & State... [Reference KF80.S5].

In this instance, the search was easier on the Internet than in standard sources because the unofficial name "Florida Lemon Law" appears in descriptions on some agency websites.

Where is the law that created Disney World?

You've got to do a little research into the history of Walt Disney World first. You could read through some of the books about Disney World, such as Vinyl Leaves [GV 1853.3 .F62 W344 1992], but another possible source is the UCF Library's subscription to the Orlando Sentinel; conduct a search and then scan the headlines for likely articles, such as "Disney World Through the Years", September 29, 1996.

The facts you need to find are the year 1967 and the official name of the area created: Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Next, search the index of the 1967 Special Acts volumes of the Laws of Florida [Florida Documents SS5:L3/] for "Reedy Creek". The 100-page law that gave Disney tremendous independence from Orange and Osceola Counties is Chapter 67-1965.

NOTE: The Florida Legislature passes General Laws each year that usually end up codified in the Florida Statutes, but the Special Acts are not included in the Florida Statutes.

Some information about the Reedy Creek Improvement District is available online.

Where can I find information about the TESOL consent decree?

See the Consent Decree research guide for information about League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) et al. v. State Board of Education Consent Decree, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, August 14, 1990