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Review of Civil Filings for Confidential Information by Clerks Ending July

Review of Civil Filings for Confidential Information by Clerks Ending July

On January 21, 2021, The Supreme Court of Florida amended Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420, which governs access to court records. The amendment ends the independent duty of clerks to review civil and small claims filings in order to identify and remove sensitive personal information that is protected under the rule.

Originally adopted in 2010, Rule 2.420 sets our 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, estate inventories and accountings, and juvenile delinquency records. Filers are required to identify information that falls in those exemptions and notify clerks when they submit information through the statewide e-filing portal. Filers are also required to notify the clerk of information not included in the automatic categories that might be confidential under statute or other provisions and to seek a judicial determination on keeping that information confidential. Aside from acting on the notice, clerks are charged under the current rule with independently reviewing all filings to identify and redact information that falls into the 23 categories.

Effective July 1, clerks of court will no longer review civil filings to screen out confidential information before putting those documents in public court files. When the rule becomes effective, clerks will only protect the information in the civil and small claims cases when notified by filers, by court order, or when the case itself is confidential under law.