Overview of the Florida Bar Grievance Process – Part 3 of 4

Disciplinary trials are considered neither criminal nor civil. Rather, they are quasi-judicial administrative proceedings.  Although the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure apply, there are two important differences between civil and disciplinary trials.  First, referees in disciplinary trials have wide discretion to admit or exclude any relevant evidence, including hearsay.  Second, the Bar must prove that a disciplinary violation occurred by clear and convincing evidence, which is something less than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard  required in criminal cases, but more than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard typically applicable in civil cases.