Oregon Council on Court Procedures

Where do the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure come from and how are they changed? If a particular rule is not effective or has been rendered obsolete by technology, or by practice, how may it be amended?

The Council on Court Procedures is the Oregon public body that is most directly involved in creating, reviewing, and amending the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, which govern procedure and practice in all Oregon circuit courts (except for the small claims department). 

Membership and Meetings

Members of the Council are drawn from appellate and circuit court judges, practicing attorneys who represent both those who bring civil cases and those who defend them, and a public member. All Council members serve without pay. The work of the Council is supported by a professional staff, by the Oregon State Bar, and by Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College. All meetings of the Council are open to the public.

Suggestions for Amendments

The Council considers proposed rule changes from a wide variety of sources. Council members also consider the potential need for amendments that may arise because of developments in case law, changes in technology, new Oregon statutes or federal legislation, or changes in legal practice. The Council strives to make sure that the rules remain practical and up to date, and promote the fair and efficient administration of justice and welcomes comments and suggestions regarding the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure.

Timeline and Procedures

The Council has a two year cycle for considering amendments to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure. It tries to have workable rules that are written clearly, and also tries to make sure that ill-advised proposals are screened out. In December of each even-numbered year, the Council promulgates proposed rules or amended rules. Proposals that receive a "super majority" vote of the Council become law about a year later, unless the Legislature decides otherwise. In addition, the Council is available as a resource to the Legislature during each session.

What the Council Does Not Do

The Oregon Council on Court Procedures is a public rule-making body. It is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice or services. It also does not decide cases, discipline attorneys or judges, write substantive laws, modify the rules of evidence, or modify the rules of appellate procedure; those responsibilities are carried out by other institutions (see Resources button on left).