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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 was formed by the Legislature in 1977 to draft and to systematically update the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure (ORCP). The enabling legislation is found at ORS 1.725 through ORS 1.760. Well-crafted, fair, and balanced procedural rules for the filing, prosecution, and defense of civil disputes ensure that all Oregonians have a forum in which to seek redress of private grievances fairly and equitably.
By statute the Council is composed of lawyers, judges, and at least one public member. The lawyers are further sub-divided into two equally numbered groups: one drawn from the ranks of the “plaintiffs’ bar” who routinely represent those seeking redress; and one drawn from the “defense bar” who routinely defend cases. The judges are drawn from the trial courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. All members of the Council are volunteers who serve without compensation.
The Council meets once each month during the years between legislative sessions. Meetings are on Saturdays and usually begin at 9:30 a.m. Committees and task forces established by the Council meet at various times during the month, depending upon the work load and the schedules of individual members. The Council votes to publish proposed amendments to the ORCP at the September meeting in even numbered years and votes to promulgate amendments to the ORCP at the December meeting in even numbered years. The Council’s promulgated rules or amendments are submitted to the Legislature and take effect in January of the following, odd-numbered, year, unless the Legislature votes to amend, repeal, or supplement any promulgation.
The Council’s meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held at various locations around the State. The Oregon State Bar provides meeting space at no cost to the Council. The Council also meets in other locations and for the most part receives in-kind contributions of the cost of meeting space.
The Council is continually addressing whether the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure are serving to fairly and efficiently resolve civil disputes for the benefit of parties and their attorneys. The Council welcomes reports of instances where a rule is not, or is no longer, meeting the fair and efficient standard. Questions may be addressed through the Council's website.