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Civil law includes statutes and case law that define or interpret individual's and organization's private rights, in their relationships and disputes that involve property, contracts, personal injury, family relationships, tax, or government rules and regulations. Among other powers, the circuit court has the power in civil cases to:

  • dissolve marriages and distribute the assets of the parties;
  • award or change legal custody of children;
  • determine who has title to land;
  • distribute a decedent's property and possessions;
  • preside over trials;
  • commit juveniles to state institutions and place dependent children in substitute care;
  • approve adoptions;
  • commit mentally ill persons to state hospitals; and
  • issue injunctions.

State of Oregon does not have laws that define every private right, therefore courts rely on the court-made law, common law, to resolve some disputes. As in other states, courts in Oregon are rooted in common law tradition and governed by a state constitution and statutes that supersede the common law.
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).

Civil Motion Panel
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Construction Litigation
Civil Jury Trials
Expedited Jury Trial Program
Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) - Evictions

Civil Motion Panel
Civil Motion Panel of the Circuit Court is a voluntary group of judges agreed to take on the work of hearing and deciding pretrial motions in civil actions that are not assigned specially to a judge. Motion Panel judges discuss, periodically, their prior rulings, the similarities and differences in their decisions. When it appears all of the panel members have ruled similarly over time on any particular question, it is announced to the bar as a consensus of the members.
Civil Motion Panel Statement of Consensus (pdf 68 KB)

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that fall outside of the government judicial process, generally classified into at least four subtypes:

  • Arbitration (there is a third party who, as a private judge, impose a resolution)
  • Collaborative Law (each party has an attorney who facilitates the resolution process)
  • Mediation (there is a third party, a mediator, who facilitates the resolution process)
  • Negotiation (there is no third party who facilities the resolution process)

Multnomah Arbitrator List
30-12 Request for Fee Review
30-13A Arbitrator’s Notice/Request for Change Hearing Date
30-13B Order Approving Change in Hearing Date
30-14 Appeal of Arbitration Award and Request for Trial
30-15 Arbitration Award or Settlement Notice
30-17A Motion Referring Case into Court Arbitration
30-17B Order Referring Case into Court Arbitration
30-18 Arbitrator's Time Report
30-19 Application to Serve as Arbitrator
30-20 Notice of Selection of Arbitrator and Setting of Date for Hearing
30-21A Motion Removing Case from Court Arbitration and Assigning Case to Trial Docket
30-21B Order Removing Case from Court Arbitration and Assigning Case to Trial Docket
30-22 Arbitrator’s Notice of Setting of Date for Hearing
30-23 Certification of Services and Request for Payment of Arbitrator Fee

Mediation is a process that provides an opportunity for people in conflict to reach a mutually satisfying resolution with the help of an impartial third party, the mediator. Mediation is voluntary and confidential.
A mediator is trained to help people resolve disputes. The mediator is neutral, does not take one side or the other, and does not make decisions for the parties. The mediator helps parties communicate by listening to both parties and helping them listen to each other so that they can agree on mutually acceptable solutions. A mediator will help parties reach and draft their own agreements.
Multnomah County Circuit Court has a roster of mediators who have experience in general civil; probate; domestic relations custody and parenting; and domestic relations financial issues. These mediators have met the requirements (Chief Justice Order No. 05-028) defining the requisite training and experience for designation as a court-connected mediator. The roster is provided as a service to the public, to help members of the public locate a mediator to help them resolve conflicts in the applicable field. Inclusion on this roster does not constitute a recommendation by the court.
Court-Connected Mediators (Roster of Approved Mediators)
Guidelines for Mediator Applicants (pdf 60 KB)
Mediator Application Form (pdf 1.4 MB)
Continuing Education Information for Court-Connected Mediators (pdf 44 KB)
Mediator Continuing Education Hours Reporting Form (pdf 2.3 MB)
CJO 05-028 (pdf 60 KB)

Construction Litigation
4th Judicial District allows parties to apply to opt out of the normal 12 month trial system in construction litigation cases by participating in a new Referee system. The Referee system is a procedure that was designed to deal with complex construction litigation, especially construction defect cases.
The parties have three option for selecting a Referee: (1) pick a Referee from a list provided by the Court; ( 2) stipulate to a Referee; or (3)Presiding Court will select a Referee at a scheduling conference if the parties do not select one by a certain date.
As part of the regular case, the Referee recommends an Order Appointing Referee in Complex Case and presents the Order to the Court for review, approval, and execution.
Construction Litigation Procedures Notice - Clean Copy of Notice (pdf 38 KB)
Order Appointing Referee in Complex Case - Clean Copy of Order (pdf 51 KB)
Referee Application (pdf 27 KB)
Referee Contact List (pdf 192 KB)

Civil Jury Trials
Recommended Practices For Civil Jury Trials (pdf 557 KB) (black and white version)
Recommended Practices For Civil Jury Trials (pdf 466 KB) (color version)
Vanishing Civil Jury Trials in Multnomah County - Committee Report (pdf 530 KB)

Expedited Jury Trial Program
Expedited Jury Trials - Program Description (pdf 74 KB)
Expedited Jury Trials - Motion (pdf 31 KB)
Expedited Jury Trials - Order (pdf 11 KB)
What to Expect at the First Case Management Conference (pdf 40 KB)

Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) - Evictions
FED Process (pdf 483 KB)
FED Forms for Landlords
FED Forms for Tenants

Alerts and Em. Closures