Expert Witness Services


How Do I…

...obtain a copy of an Expert Witness contract?

  1. If you have already signed a contract and are in need of a copy of that contract, please send your request in writing to mquinlan@pbcgov.org  or
Administrative Office of the Court
15th Judicial Circuit
Attn: Expert Witness Services
205 North Dixie Highway Suite 5.2500
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

... complete the Uniform Invoice for Expert Services?

  1. Enter your name, address and social security/FEIN number in the top left hand box.
  2. Enter the invoice number in the top right hand corner. This number is created by the vendor for record keeping purposes. Court Administration files all invoices by vendor name and invoice number. All invoices submitted without a documented number will automatically be assigned a number reflecting the last date of service and the doctor's initials.
  3. Enter your contract number in the shaded box below invoice number. ( How do I obtain my contract number?)
  4. Enter the case number, division of court and case/evaluation type (i.e.: Competency, Probate/Guardianship Committee, Social Investigation or Family Psychological) in the corresponding lines. Additionally, check off the correct area of expertise for the invoice. All mental health evaluations other than competency should be checked in "Other Mental Health Expert". The "Other Expert" section is reserved for experts outside of the mental health field.
  5. In the space provided, please include a line item listing of each service provided, the date that service was performed, the number of hours spent on that specific task, your rate of compensation and the total amount for each line item. Please include a grand total of all line items at the bottom of the table.
  6. Attach a copy of the Judge's order appointing you as an expert. This order may differ from service to service and attachment is required in order to receive payment. (How do I know what order to attach for payment?)
  7. Please sign and date the invoice at the bottom right and send the original invoice (with original signature: preferred in blue ink) to:
Administrative Office of the Court
15th Judicial Circuit
Attn: Expert Witness Services
205 North Dixie Highway Suite 5.2500
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401.

...find  my rate of compensation?

Your rate of compensation is outlined in the Administrative Order corresponding to the evaluation type performed. Please see the guide below.

  1. Administrative Order 2.601 for Selection and Payment of Court Appointed Experts (In all cases except Probate & Guardianship)  
  2. Administrative Order 6.301 for Probate and Guardianship Division Compensation for Attorneys, Examining Committee Members and other Experts Relating to Guardianship Matters
  3. Administrative Order Regarding Social Investigations 

... submit my invoice?

  1. First determine the responsible party for compensation. (How do I determine who pays me)
  2. If the Court is responsible for compensation, all invoices may be mailed to:
     
    Administrative Office of the Court
    15th Judicial Circuit
    Attn: Expert Witness Services
    205 North Dixie Highway
    Suite 5.2500
    West Palm Beach, Florida 33401.
     
  3. In the event that the Court is not responsible for payment, please mail your invoice to the responsible party. (How do I determine who pays me)

... determine who pays me?

  1. Competency Evaluations:    
    Orders appointing an expert for competency are, in most circumstances, paid for by Court Administration.
  2. Insanity/Sanity Evaluations:    
    Orders for insanity evaluations will not be paid for by court administration unless specifically authorized by the Court.
  3. Social investigations:
    Social Investigations are paid for by the parties unless the party has been declared indigent.
  4. Probate/Guardianship/Developmental Disabilities Evaluations:
    Evaluations performed in Probate, Guardianship and Developmental Disabilities cases are paid for by the estate of the Ward (or alleged ward) unless the Ward is indigent. If indigent the expert will be compensated by the Court. All evaluations, regardless of payment responsibility, are compensated at the rate set forth in the
    Administrative Order 6.301.

... apply for additional compensation?

If you believe that your services require payment greater than the amount permitted in the contract and/or Administrative Order, you may request a hearing before the Court which appointed you as an expert. You may send a written request and copy of the invoice to the appointing Judge explaining why you believe that your services require a greater payment. Please also send a copy of this request to Court Administration. Court Administration may present evidence to the Court as to the reasonableness of the charges.

... change my contact information for expert appointments?

All contact information updates can be e-mailed to mquinlan@pbcgov.org or mailed to the

Administrative Office of the Court
15th Judicial Circuit
Attn: Expert Witness Services
205 North Dixie Highway Suite 5.2500
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401.

... determine if a payment has been made?

Florida Statute 215.422 Taxation and Finance, Financial Matters: General Provisions (Payments, warrants, and invoices; processing time limits; dispute resolution; agency or judicial branch compliance) You may check on all payments made or any pending payments on the Department of Financial Services, Vendor Payment History page https://flair.dbf.state.fl.us/caspub/vnpayhst.htm Once on this page, enter your social security/FEIN number, the month and year of payment and the system will reflect all payments made for that vendor from the month entered to December of that year. (i.e. If you wish to view all payments made for the entire year of 2008, you would enter January 2008; the system will reflect all payments that have been made since January for that year.) If your payment is withheld due to the invoice being sent outside of the time period reflected in the contract or administrative order, you may contest the non-payment by contacting the Trial Court Administrator or the Chief Judge of the Fifteenth Circuit. 

... obtain my contract number?

After all signatures are obtained, a copy of the contract is sent to the Office of the State Courts Administrator in Tallahassee, FL for legal review and contract number assignment. This process usually takes a couple of weeks from the date of receipt. To obtain your contract number, please send a written request to mquinlan@pbcgov.org or

Administrative Office of the Court
15th Judicial Circuit
Attn: Expert Witness Services
205 North Dixie Highway Suite 5.2500
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401.

... know what order to attach for payment?

  1. Competency Evaluations, Social Investigations and Family Law Psychological Evaluations: You should attach the Order Appointing you as expert in the matter. Please ensure that the order specifies what type of evaluation you are to perform.
  2. Probate/Guardianship/Developmental Disabilities Committee: You should attach the Order for Payment. Please ensure that the order specifies how much the Court is to compensate you.

... sign-up for Forensic Evaluator Training?

Forensic Evaluator Training, as outlined in Florida Statute 916.111, shall be conducted in such a way as to ensure uniform application of the criteria enumerated in Rules 3.210 and 3.216, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Department of Children & Families shall develop, and may contract with accredited institutions to provide:

    1. A plan for training mental health professionals to perform forensic evaluations and to standardize the criteria and procedures to be used in these evaluations;
    2. Clinical protocols and procedures based upon the criteria of Rules 3.210 and 3.216, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure; and
    3. Training for mental health professionals in the application of these protocols and procedures in performing forensic evaluations and providing reports to the courts;
    and
  1. To compile and maintain the necessary information for evaluating the success of this program, including the number of persons trained, the cost of operating the program, and the effect on the quality of forensic evaluations as measured by appropriateness of admissions to state forensic facilities and to community-based care programs. The Department of Children & Families has contracted with the University of South Florida, Department of Mental Health Law and Policy to provide this training to all experts. You may also visit their website at http://mhlp.fmhi.usf.edu/ for further information on current training opportunities.If you have not completed the training course and are interested in signing up, please call 813-974-4510 or contact the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy:
Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute
University of South Florida
13301 Bruce B. Downs
Tampa, FL 33612

... sign-up for the required Examining Committee Member Initial Training and Continuing Education?

As outlined in Florida Statute 744.331(3)(d):

"A member of an examining committee must complete a minimum of 4 hours of initial training. The person must complete 2 hours of continuing education during each 2-year period after the initial training. The initial training and continuing education program must be developed under the supervision of the Statewide Public Guardianship Office, in consultation with the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges; the Elder Law and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law sections of The Florida Bar; the Florida State Guardianship Association; and the Florida Guardianship Foundation. The court may waive the initial training requirement for a person who has served for not less than 5 years on examining committees. If a person wishes to obtain his or her continuing education on the Internet or by watching a video course, the person must first obtain the approval of the chief judge before taking an Internet or video course."

If you have not completed the Four Hour Examining Committee Member Initial Training Course or the Two Hour Continuing Education Training Course and are interested in either, please request the next date/time this course will be available in writing to mquinlan@pbcgov.org. You may also contact the Statewide Public Guardianship Office for additional information about the curriculum and course requirements at (850) 414-2381.



Debra Oats
Program Manager

Room: 
5.2500

Main Judicial Complex
Attn: Court Administration - Expert Witness Services
205 N Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone:
(561) 355-4495

Email:
doats@pbcgov.org