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.
The State of Oregon does not have laws that define every private right, therefore courts rely on the court-made law and 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.
Attorney Reference Manual (ARM)
Attorney Reference Manual (ARM)
is provided as an aid to attorneys practicing before the Circuit Court in Multnomah County. It is intended only to provide assistance regarding some local internal practices, primarily in the area of civil practice, which are determined by common law, rules and statutory authority (including the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, Uniform Trial Court Rules, and Supplementary Local Rules). This manual deals with procedures and practices in Presiding Court for civil cases. For procedures and information regarding criminal and family court matters, you should contact the appropriate section or department.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a term commonly used to describe a variety of options other than litigation, such as arbitration or mediation. Mediation is a process that provides an opportunity for people in conflict to reach a mutually satisfying resolution with the help of a neutral third party.
Information on court-connected mediation.
Civil cases with a monetary claim for less than $50,000 are subject to mandatory arbitration. Arbitration is a program designed to provide quick and cost effective resolution to cases. Instead of a trial before a judge, cases assigned to the program are decided by an arbitrator who makes an award based on the evidence and testimony presented at a hearing. After deciding the case, the arbitrator will issue an award which can then become a judgment by the court. If either party does not like the outcome of the hearing and the award, they may appeal the decision to the court and request a trial.
Civil Jury Trials
A committee of judges and lawyers was formed to study the ABA’s released “Principles for Juries and Jury Trials.” Using these Principles as a template to evaluate jury practices in Multnomah County Circuit Court, work groups were formed to consider improvements to different aspects of jury service, from information for jurors on the court’s website to jury instructions provided during trial. As the evaluation process continued, a task force evolved to focus exclusively on civil trials. The following Recommended Practices for Civil Jury Trials is the product of that process.
Civil Motion Panel
The Civil Motion Panel is a voluntary group of judges that have agreed to take on the work of hearing and deciding pretrial motions in civil actions that are not assigned specially to a judge. Civil Motion Panel judges discuss their prior ruling and the similarities and differences in their decisions. When it appears that 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.
Multnomah County Circuit Court allows parties to apply to opt out of the normal 12 month trial setting requirement in construction litigation cases by participating with a Referee. The Referee system is a procedure that was designed to deal with complex construction litigation, especially construction defect cases. In order to proceed with a Referee, all parties must attend a Scheduling Conference with the Presiding Judge. The following resources provide a description of the system and will aid in the selection and appointment of a Referee.
Civil case Ex Parte is held Monday - Friday at 10:30 am or 1:30 pm in the Presiding Courtroom on the Seventh Floor. The following supplementary local rule provides a list of subject matter areas in which the documents must be presented conventionally and may not be electronically filed -
Expedited Jury Trial Program
Any civil case eligible for jury trial may be designated as an expedited case. A party seeking the expedited civil jury trial designation must obtain the agreement of all other parties, set a Scheduling Conference with the Presiding Judge, and submit a stipulated motion and order. If the case is designated as expedited, it is exempt, or removed, from mandatory arbitration and from all court rules requiring mediation, arbitration and other forms of ADR. The following resources provide a comprehensive description of the program and necessary resources for expedited designation.
eFiling Best Practices for Civil Cases
Uniform Trial Court Rule
states, an active member of the Oregon State Bar must file a document using the electronic filing system, instead of using conventional filing, unless: (a) the document is required to be conventionally filed under
(b) The filer has obtained a waiver. The Multnomah County Circuit Court Civil Operation’s eFiling Best Practices for Civil Cases
assists with initial and subsequent filings. This guide is not designed to be an exhaustive approach to all types of filings. For further questions concerning eFiling please contact Civil Operations at
, option 3, Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM.
Providing Appropriate Information v. Giving Legal Advice
Fees for civil cases are due at the time of filing your papers. If you cannot pay the fee at the time of filing, you may apply for a fee deferral/waiver. If the fee deferral/waiver is granted, collection of those fees are the same as any other monetary obligation. For additional information, please go to Fee Waiver/Fee Deferral page.