Fairness & Diversity
Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity
The Florida Supreme Court Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity was created to help advance the State Court’s efforts to eliminate biases from court operations based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, financial status, or any characteristic that is
without legal relevance.
Throughout the committee’s existence, the Supreme Court has directed that in keeping with the above theme that the committee undertake certain tasks during two-year terms.
During the new two year term the committee has been asked to perform the following tasks:
- Funding for the purposes of ensuring that the courts and court administration staff have access to fairness and diversity education programs.
- Establish the necessary relationship with the Florida Bar, local bar associations, local community organizations/partners, and Florida law Schools.
- Continue to develop, publish, and distribute educational material on implicit bias. The committee will be also be preparing educational activities for the courts and the communities to build awareness as to implicit bias.
- The committee during this term will be undertaking a review of the Young Lawyers Division Survey on Woman in the Legal Profession. The goal will be to make recommendations to the court on creating educational programs to deal with the issues raised as a result of the survey.
- Developing relationships between the committee Florida Court Educational Programs and submitting recommendations to the council regarding court education as it applies to fairness and diversity issues.
- Creating relationships with the District Court of Appeal Budget Commission and the Trial Court Budget Commission to secure additional funding for fairness and diversity educational programs.
- Establish relationships with the Florida Courts Technology Commission so that any of the recommendations made by the full committee that would impact technology would be made known to this committee.
As can be seen it’s going to be a busy two years. However, your comments, opinions, ideas or suggestions are very important, therefore, do not hesitate to contact us.
Peter F. Estrada
Circuit Court Judge
Tenth Judicial Circuit
Judge Scott M. Bernstein, Eleventh Circuit and Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity Member, Receives the 2019 Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence
Judge Scott Bernstein, who was elected to the Eleventh Circuit bench in 1998, is universally regarded by his peers as “a judge's judge: a scholar, a leader, and an advocate for justice.” Said to be “no stranger to blazing trails,” Judge Bernstein is appreciated for “his intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge.” He is especially known for his efforts to improve the quality of the judiciary—both for court users and for the people who work in the courts system. His colleagues observe that “Florida is blessed with many good judges and some great judges. Then there are those few who are both great judges and great humanitarians. Scott Bernstein is one of those select few.”
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2015 - 2016 Best Practices Guide
“Justice without diversity can never be perceived as just.” - The Honorable James E.C. Perry
Much progress and understanding has been achieved by the work of this Committee since its creation, but fairness and diversity issues still remain a challenge in the courts. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity presents this Diversity Best Practices Guide – a positive and practical tool that can be used for recognizing and eliminating biased behaviors from court operations.
This guide is not designed as a comprehensive guide on fairness and diversity in the courts. Rather, it strives to serve as a useful resource for court diversity teams and the Judicial Branch.
2008 Final Report: Perceptions of Fairness and Diversity in the Florida Courts
After analyzing input from thousands of judges, court employees, attorneys, litigants, jurors, and other interested persons, the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity has issued a report that documents current perceptions of fairness in the court system.
The Committee was established to assist the courts in identifying and eliminating any bias based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, financial status, or any characteristic that is without legal relevance.
Following are previous Florida committee reports, previous Florida Bar studies and national studies and articles on the subject of fairness and diversity. (Opening the following files requires that you have Adobe Acrobat loaded on your computer. Some of the files are large, so allow adequate download time.)
New Work products of the Standing Committee
- Recognizing and Eliminating Bias from Court Operations
- Supreme Court Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity Compilation of Court-Community Relations Activities
- Promoting and Ensuring the Diversity of Judicial Staff Attorneys and Law Clerks within the Florida State Courts System
- Law Clerk Resume Repository Staff attorney and law clerk applicants - Post resumes here)
Previous Florida Committee Reports
- Gender Bias Study Commission (Executive Summary)
- Gender Bias – Then And Now Continuing Challenges In The Legal System
- Guardianship Monitoring (2003)
- Florida Supreme Court Committee On Court-Related Needs Of The Elderly And Persons With Disabilities Action Plan
- Florida Statewide Public Opinion Survey (Executive Summary)
- Judicial Administration Of The Baker Act And Its Effect On Florida’s Elders (Executive Summary)
- Jury Accessibility For Older Persons And Persons With Disabilities In Florida
- “Where The Injured Fly For Justice” Report And Recommendations Of The Florida Supreme Court Racial And Ethnic Bias Study Commission (1990)
- “Where The Injured Fly For Justice” Report And Recommendations Of The Florida Supreme Court Racial And Ethnic Bias Study Commission (1991)
“Where The Injured Fly For Justice” Report And Recommendations Of The Florida Supreme Court Racial And Ethnic Bias Study Commission
Previous Bar Studies
- Diversity In The Legal Profession (The Florida Bar, for questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Perceptions Of Lawyers: The Client’s View (The Florida Bar, for questions, contact email@example.com)
National Studies and Articles
- Establishing And Operating A Task Force Or Commission On Racial And Ethnic Bias In The Courts (Copyright 1995 National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Va. Used with permission.)
- How Recent Court Users View The State Courts: Perceptions Of Whites, African-Americans, And Latinos (Copyrighted National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Va. Used with permission.)
- How The Public Views The State Courts (A 1999 National Study) (Copyright 1999 National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Va. Used with permission.)
- Leadership Development Conference: Courts for the 21st Century (Upstate Conference) Report - Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission On Minorities January 2005.