In the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit
in and for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties, Florida

Administrative Order 2021–8.1

(updates 2020–18.1)


Court-Ordered Nonbinding

Whereas, on July 20, 2020, this court entered Administrative Order 2020-18.1, and established Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration during COVID-19 due to the unlikelihood that civil cases would be tried during 2020; and

Whereas, it is in the best interest of the circuit to continue offering the option of Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration; and

Whereas, section 44.103, Florida Statutes, allows a circuit or county judge to refer any contested civil action to nonbinding arbitration; and

Whereas, Rule 1.810, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, requires the chief judge or designee to maintain a list of qualified persons who have agreed to serve as arbitrators and to establish the compensation of arbitrators subject to the limitations in section 44.103(3), Florida Statutes; and

Whereas, Rule 1.820, Fla.R.Civ.P., requires the chief judge to set procedures for determining the time and place of the arbitration hearing, and authorizes the chief judge to establish any other procedures for the expeditious and orderly operation of the arbitration hearings to the extent that the procedures are not in conflict with any rules of court.

Now, therefore, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Chief Judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida, and in accordance with Article V, section 7, Florida Constitution, Rule 2.215, Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, and section 43.26, Florida Statutes, it is ordered and adjudged:

  1. The presiding judge in a civil action may order a case to nonbinding arbitration upon stipulation of all parties or where the judge has determined that nonbinding arbitration will not cause any undue financial hardship or burden to any party and that the case is likely to resolve based on the results of nonbinding arbitration.
  2. The chief judge designates the 12th Circuit Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Director responsible for maintaining a list of qualified persons who have agreed to serve as arbitrators. The list shall be available on the 12th Circuit website .
  3. The parties in cases referred to nonbinding arbitration shall follow the procedures and guidelines set forth in section 44.103, Florida Statutes, and Rules 1.810 and 1.820, Fla.R.Civ.P.
  4. Pursuant to section 44.103(3), Florida Statutes, arbitrators shall be compensated by the parties. Compensation of the arbitrator shall be no more than $1500 per diem, unless the parties agree otherwise.
  5. An Order Referring Case to Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration and Order Appointing Arbitrator in Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration shall be entered by the presiding judge. The Order Appointing Arbitrator in Court-Ordered Nonbinding Arbitration shall include procedures for determining the time and place of the arbitration hearing. Both orders shall be in substantial compliance with the sample orders attached to the end of this Administrative Order and incorporated by reference.
  6. This Administrative Order is effective immediately, nunc pro tunc to January 1, 2021.
  7. To the extent that any provision of this Administrative Order may be construed as being in conflict with any law, statute or rule, the law, statute or rule shall prevail.

Done and ordered in Chambers, Sarasota County, Florida, this 20th day of May, 2021.

Kimberly C. Bonner
Chief Judge,12th Judicial Circuit

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