In 1957, the Florida Legislature created three district courts of appeal to assume a
portion of the appellate jurisdiction of the state court system. The Third District Court of
Appeal, located in Miami, was given a territorial jurisdiction which encompasses Dade
and Monroe Counties.
The Third District first met in 1957 at the University of Miami School of Law. From 1960 to 1976, the court was located in the State Office Building on Northwest 12th Street. In 1972, Dade County deeded to the State of Florida three acres in Tamiami Park, along Southwest 117th Avenue, adjacent to the Florida International University campus, for the purpose of constructing a building to house the Third District Court of Appeal. Construction began in 1974 and Governor Reubin Askew dedicated the current building in the fall of 1976.
Governor Bob Graham presented the court with the Governor's Design Award in 1981 which recognizes outstanding achievement in the development of public facilities. The South Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognizes the court as one of the 20 noteworthy public buildings in Miami. To keep pace with the growth of the court, a new wing was added in 1990, and in 2015, a new construction project was started to upgrade failing core-systems and to upgrade public areas to meet ADA requirements.
Originally, three judges, Chief Judge Charles A. Carroll and Judges Mallory Horton and Tillman Pearson, sat at the Third District Court of Appeal. As the population and case load increased through the years, additional judges were appointed. Ten judges now make up the court.