Docket Fee Tax to Be Used for a Law Library
In Flood v. State ex rel. Homeland Co., 95 Fla. 1003, 117 So. 385 (Fla. 1928), the Court addressed whether a statute establishing a docket fee to be used for a law library and other general county purposes was an invalid tax on litigants.
The statute provided that each plaintiff in a circuit court had to pay a docket fee of $10, which was to be deposited into a special fund for establishing and maintaining a law library in the county. Flood, 117 So. at 386. the statute also provided that "any balance remaining thereafter was to be used and applied as said board of county commissioners may from time to time deem best for general county purposes." Id. (quoting ch. 12004, Laws of Fla. (1927)).
The Court concluded that the fee was a tax repugnant to the right of access to courts contained in Florida's Constitution, reasoning as follows:
It is clear that to call this a fee is a misnomer.
It is a tax levied and collected for a county purpose, if the establishment of a law library may be considered a county purpose.
No part of the so-called fee is appropriated for the payment of any services rendered by the clerk rendering the service in the case.. . . the act is clearly an attempt to levy a tax on those who must bring their causes into court and to require the payment of such tax for the benefit of the public treasury, and is an abrogation of the administration of right and justice. Id. at 387.