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(a) Purpose. Judges and lawyers have a professional obligation to conclude litigation as soon as it is reasonably and justly possible to do so. However, parties and counsel shall be afforded a reasonable time to prepare and present their case.
(b) Case Control. The trial judge shall take charge of all cases at an early stage in the litigation and shall control the progress of the case thereafter until the case is determined. The trial judge shall take specific steps to monitor and control the pace of litigation, including the following:
(1) assuming early and continuous control of the court calendar;
(2) identifying priority cases as assigned by statute, rule of procedure, case law, or otherwise;
(3) implementing such docket control policies as may be necessary to advance priority cases to ensure prompt resolution;
(4) identifying cases subject to alternative dispute resolution processes;
(5) developing rational and effective trial setting policies; and
(6) advancing the trial setting of priority cases, older cases, and cases of greater urgency.
(c) Priority Cases.
(1) In all noncriminal cases assigned a priority status by statute, rule of procedure, case law, or otherwise, any party may file a notice of priority status explaining the nature of the case, the source of the priority status, any deadlines imposed by law on any aspect of the case, and any unusual factors that may bear on meeting the imposed deadlines.
(2) If, in any noncriminal case assigned a priority status by statute, rule of procedure, case law, or otherwise, a party is of the good faith opinion that the case has not been appropriately advanced on the docket or has not received priority in scheduling consistent with its priority case status, that party may seek review of such action by motion for review to the chief judge or to the chief judge’s designee. The filing of such a motion for review will not toll the time for seeking such other relief as may be afforded by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.
(d) Related Cases.
(1) The petitioner in a family case as defined in this rule shall file with the court a notice of related cases in conformity with family law form 12.900(h), if related cases are known or reasonably ascertainable. A case is related when:
(A) it involves any of the same parties, children, or issues and it is pending at the time the party files a family case; or
(B) it affects the court’s jurisdiction to proceed; or
(C) an order in the related case may conflict with an order on the same issues in the new case; or
(D) an order in the new case may conflict with an order in the earlier litigation.
(2) “Family cases” include dissolution of marriage, annulment, support unconnected with dissolution of marriage, paternity, child support, UIFSA, custodial care of and access to children, proceedings for temporary or concurrent custody of minor children by extended family, adoption, name change, declaratory judgment actions related to premarital, martial [marital], or postmarital agreements, civil domestic, repeat violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual violence injunctions, juvenile dependency, termination of parental rights, juvenile delinquency, emancipation of a minor, CINS/FINS, truancy, and modification and enforcement of orders entered in these cases.
(3) The notice of related cases shall identify the caption and case number of the related case, contain a brief statement of the relationship of the actions, and contain a statement addressing whether assignment to one judge or another method of coordination will conserve judicial resources and promote an efficient determination of the actions.
(4) The notice of related cases shall be filed with the initial pleading by the filing attorney or self-represented petitioner. The notice shall be filed in each of the related cases that are currently open and pending with the court and served on all other parties in each of the related cases, and as may be directed by the chief judge or designee. Parties may file joint notices. A notice of related cases filed pursuant to this rule is not an appearance. If any related case is confidential and exempt from public access by law, then a Notice of Confidential Information Within Court Filing as required by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420 shall accompany the notice. Parties shall file supplemental notices as related cases become known or reasonably ascertainable.
(5) Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceedings in this or any other state that could affect the current proceeding.
(6) Whenever it appears to a party that two or more pending cases present common issues of fact and that assignment to one judge or another method of coordination will significantly promote the efficient administration of justice, conserve judicial resources, avoid inconsistent results, or prevent multiple court appearances by the same parties on the same issues, the party may file a notice of related cases requesting coordination of the litigation.
(e) Continuances. All judges shall apply a firm continuance policy. Continuances should be few, good cause should be required, and all requests should be heard and resolved by a judge. All motions for continuance shall be in writing unless made at a trial and, except for good cause shown, shall be signed by the party requesting the continuance. All motions for continuance in priority cases shall clearly identify such priority status and explain what effect the motion will have on the progress of the case.
The provisions in subdivision (c) of this rule governing priority cases should be read in conjunction with the provisions of rule
2.215(g), governing the duty to expedite priority cases.