A Statute Alocating a Portion of the Filing Fee to a County Law Library

in Farabee v. Board of Trustees, 254 So. 2d 1 (Fla. 1971), the Court addressed a challenge to a statute allocating a portion of a new $10 filing fee to the Lee County Law Library.

"Under the statutory formula the Law Library received $3.00 plus 20% of $10.00 or a total allocation of $5.00 out of each filing fee paid to the Clerk." Farabee, 254 So. 2d at 3.

This Court in Farabee rejected the Clerk's argument, which was based upon Flood, that the portion of the filing fee payable to the law library was an unconstitutional tax on litigants. Id. at 5.

The Court concluded that the law library was "essential to the administration of justice today, and it is appropriate that its cost be assessed against those who make use of the court systems of our state." Id.

The Court distinguished Farabee from our prior decision in Flood by pointing out in particular that Flood involved a fee that was used to fund general county purposes:

We deem it especially significant in Flood, that the balance of the funds remaining after adequate provision for the law library were to be used for "general county purposes" as directed by the board of county commissioners.

Since at least part of the fee was available to the county for the building of roads, schools, and so on, it could not be said that the fee levied was a cost of the administration of justice. Id.

The court in Farabee also receded from its prior language in Flood that may have indicated that a law library was not essential to the justice system. Id.