In 21st century litigation, cases in the civil and criminal context often come down to a battle of the experts. Those experts, who are paid tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, are given the job of persuading and convincing our juries how to deliver justice. Just how far those experts can, or should be allowed to—push the envelope with their opinions—has sparked an ongoing debate in Florida. After working together for more than 40 years to create and maintain rules of evidence, the Florida courts and the Florida Legislature have reached a fundamental disagreement on this point. And, for the moment, anyway, the Florida Supreme Court has the final word.
Generally speaking, the Florida Supreme Court has the power to enact procedural law while the Florida Legislature retains responsibility over substantive law. As explained by the Florida Supreme Court, substantive law is that which “defines, creates or regulates rights,” and procedural law is “the form, manner or means by which substantive law is implemented.”
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