Home » About the Court
The Clay County Courts provide a wide range of services to the citizens of the County. You can click on the drop-down ”Court Services“ link from the menu at the top of the page to see a complete list of all of the services we provide, or take the ”F.A.Q.“ link if you are not sure which particular service is appropriate for your situation. There is also a ”How Do I…“ page that gives information on many of the common tasks that you can perform at the court.
Click here for details on the location of the court and office opening hours, or view our office telephone list. There is also information on the Clay County Teen Court, an innovative program designed for first-time offenders between the ages of 10 and 17.
You can also view a full list of all of the Clay County judges, including their contact information.
The Florida Constitution establishes a county court in each of Florida's 67 counties, and a circuit court to serve each judicial circuit established by the Legislature, of which there are twenty.
The trial jurisdiction of county courts is established by statute. The jurisdiction of county courts extends to civil disputes involving $15,000 or less.
The majority of non-jury trials in Florida take place before one judge sitting as a judge of the county court. The county courts are sometimes referred to as “the people's courts,” probably because a large part of the courts' work involves voluminous citizen disputes, such as traffic offenses, less serious criminal matters (misdemeanors), and relatively small monetary disputes.
Circuit courts have general trial jurisdiction over matters not assigned by statute to the county courts and also hear appeals from county court cases. Thus, circuit courts are simultaneously the highest trial courts and the lowest appellate courts in Florida's judicial system.
The majority of jury trials in Florida take place before one judge sitting as judge of the circuit court. The circuit courts are sometimes referred to as courts of general jurisdiction, in recognition of the fact that most criminal and civil cases originate at this level.
The trial jurisdiction of circuit courts includes, among other matters, original jurisdiction over civil disputes involving more than $15,000; controversies involving the estates of decedents, minors, and persons adjudicated as incapacitated; cases relating to juveniles; criminal prosecutions for all felonies; tax disputes; actions to determine the title and boundaries of real property; suits for declaratory judgments that is, to determine the legal rights or responsibilities of parties under the terms of written instruments, laws, or regulations before a dispute arises and leads to litigation; and requests for injunctions to prevent persons or entities from acting in a manner that is asserted to be unlawful.
Lastly, circuit courts are also granted the power to issue the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, and all other writs necessary to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction.
(From the Florida State Courts website.)
Clay County was created on December 31, 1858, from a section of Duval County. Its name is in honor of Henry Clay, a famous Americal statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829.
When Clay County was created, Middleburg was named as temporary county seat. As a result of an 1859 election, Whitesville (Webster) became the official county court site. Clay County’s first courthouse was located there. In 1871, Green Cove Springs was chosen as the new county seat. Courts met there in 1872, but it was 1874 before a two-story frame courthouse was completed. in 1889 a new, large two-story brick building was ready for use. The Old Clay County Courthouse served as the seat of county government until 1973. This structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.