Oregon Judicial Branch Four Year Report (2011-2014)

You can link directly to the 2011-2014 Oregon Judicial Branch Four Year Report or, if that link doesn’t work, visit the OJD homepage or the OJD Media Releases page and start searching. You’ll find lots of other interesting information, too.

Statistics on litigants without lawyers are staggering and deeply disturbing. People need lawyers. Navigating the legal system, the court system, and indeed, even just reading a contract you think you want to sign requires a level of legal literacy and analysis beyond what even the best legal researcher can acquire. People need the advice of lawyers. But that costs money.

Excerpt from the report:

Healthy Courts Provide Resources for Self-Represented Litigants:

Statistics show that self-represented litigants don’t think they can afford an attorney, don’t believe they need an attorney for their particular case, do not obtain any advice from an attorney about their case, are likely to be low income, and may have language or cultural barriers. Guaranteed by law, the right to represent oneself in court is a citizen’s choice. The economic slump of recent years has forced more middle income litigants to represent themselves as well, increasing the need for courts to ensure that these individuals receive adequate access to justice. OJD’s efforts to prepare self-represented litigants for court include self-help resources and staff, public law libraries, statewide forms, and user-friendly technology. A nationwide average of 80% of family law cases will involve at least one, and often two, self-represented litigants. The manner in which judges handle these cases in court determines whether or not both parties will receive a fair hearing. Courtroom practices by judges and staff, such as shifting from legal terminology to plain language; explaining what will occur during the hearing and reviewing what the legal issues are; pointing out who has to the convince the judge and how strong the evidence has to be; and prompting the parties to provide information represent the court’s commitment to safeguarding
justice for the self-represented.

Oregon eCourt technology will upgrade OJD’s online processes and resources for self-represented litigants, including online interactive forms. A statewide forms project is in the works and will base a series of interactive online forms on Multnomah County Circuit Court’s current Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) TurboCourt™ form for restraining orders. The interactive form program asks the applicant a series of questions, populating the form with the applicant’s answers, and results in a document to submit to the court that complies with applicable rules without the need for court staff assistance in filling out the form….” [Link to full report.]

Mandatory eFiling for Oregon Attorneys, December 1, 2014

Excerpt from the CJ announcement (link from Oregon LPM blog):

Mandatory eFiling Plan for Attorneys Filing in Oregon State Courts

Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer, Oregon Supreme Court, has approved a plan for the move to a mandatory eFiling requirement for attorneys filing as es in Oregon’s circuit and appellate courts. The Oregon Judicial department will circulate proposed court rules in the upcoming months for comment. he plan calls for a mandatory date of December 1, 2014 for the eleven circuit courts that currently have the Oregon eCourt system, including the filing component (File and Serve), and includes a transition plan for those courts that implement later….” [Link to Law Practice Management blog post.]

Family Law Self-Help Videos at Washington County (Oregon) Circuit Court

Family Law Self-Help Videos in English and Spanish, including:

Introduction to Washington County Circuit Court Family Law Videos


Discovery (providing information to or gathering information from the other party)

How to Prepare for your Family Law Trial





Descubrimiento (proporcionar información a o recopilación de información de la otra parte)

Cómo prepararse para su juicio sobre derecho familiar


Email Phishing Scam Warning from Oregon Court of Appeals

“False “Court Case” Phishing Email Scam Widely Circulating in regards to Claiming to be from the Oregon Court of Appeals

The Oregon Judicial Department and the Appellate Records Office is warning the public about a potential computer virus that is being delivered via an email falsely claiming to be about an Oregon court case. The email references an upcoming court case; however, the email is a scam. Opening any attachment or clicking on any link in the message may trigger a malicious program designed to infect the recipient’s computer.

The email is not from the Oregon state courts nor is it about a court case. If you do have a case pending with the Court of Appeals and need to confirm a correspondence you received, please contact the Oregon Appellate Records Office at 503-986-5555….

Read the full media release at the Oregon Judicial Department’s website.

Oregon Judicial DEPARTMENT is now the Oregon Judicial BRANCH

Remember Measure 78 (2011 HJR 44) in the November 2012 election? No?

Here is the vote count: yes: 1,165,963 to no: 458,509 and here is a Measure 78 summary:

Amends Constitution: Changes constitutional language describing governmental system of separation of powers; makes grammatical and spelling changes.

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote modernizes constitutional language describing separation of poers to refer to three “branches” (instead of three “departments”) of government; makes other grammatical, spelling changes.

Summary: Amends constitution. Measure makes nonsubstantive changes to wording now contained in the Oregon constitution. Current state constitutional language describes the governmental separation of powers to be divided into three separate “departments”: Legislative, Executive (including Administrative), and Judicial. Measure modernizes this constitutional phrasing by changing it to refer to three separate “branches” of government, which conforms to more contemporary, commonly-used designations for these separate divisions of government. Measure changes the description of the two houses of the Legislature to two” chambers” of the Legislature (rather than two “branches” of the Legislature), which also reflects more modem designations for them. Measure additionally modernizes spelling and makes grammatical changes to replace existing references to the Secretary of State as “he,” “him,” and “his” with gender-neutral wording….”

You can see the full text of this measure at the Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, or at the Legislature’s website.

OJD study of historical funding for programs formerly paid for through court fees

Report to the Oregon Legislature: “OJD study of historical funding for programs formerly paid for through court fees”

Full title: Report to the Legislature: HB 4168 (ch 48, Or Laws 2012): OJD study of historical funding for programs formerly paid for through court fees: county mediation/conciliation and law library programs, December 2012, Oregon Judicial Department.

Note: this report does not factor in the fund reductions that occurred in some law libraries pursuant to SB 1579 [2012 Oregon Laws 107 § 74].