COVID and the Courts - How it Impacts You

By now, most of us are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on our daily lives. It's rough. For some of us, important legal matters have been delayed. Here is a summary of the order issued by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. Each county may have slight variations to implement this order. Links to select orders can be found at the end of the summary.

TRIAL SCHEDULING

  1. No trials are to be scheduled prior to June 1, 2020
    1. Except: criminal and juvenile dependency
  2. Any trials that are currently set prior to June 1, 2020 are postponed to after June 1, 2020
    1. Except if the presiding judge determines that a trial should happen before June 1, 2020 and that it can be held remotely or with appropriate social distancing.
  3. Trials that ARE held will be held remotely if possible and the parties consent.

CATEGORY 1 ESSENTIAL PROCEEDINGS

Hearings for this category will generally be held in person as currently scheduled unless a party or the Presiding Judge moves it. These proceedings include:

  1. Many criminal proceedings
  2. Grand Jury proceedings
  3. Civil Commitment hearings

CATEGORY 2 ESSENTIAL PROCEEDINGS

If any of the below are already scheduled for before June 1, 2020, they will be held as scheduled unless a party moves or the Presiding Judge moves it. These proceedings should be conducted remotely.

  1. Immediate danger, order of assistance, protective proceedings, contested protective proceedings.
  2. Temporary Guardianships and Conservatorships
  3. Proceedings involving isolation or quarantine under ORS 433.123 (petition to court order for isolation or quarantine) and ORS 433.133 (hearing and order for release from isolation or quarantine), or isolation of contaminated property under ORS 433.142.
  4. Any other proceeding that the Presiding Judge determines must be held prior to June 1, 2020. A party or the court may move to have a proceedings held prior to June 1, 2020.

CATEGORY 3 ESSENTIAL PROCEEDINGS

Any party can ask, and the Presiding Judge can order, that a proceeding be held earlier than June 1, 2020 if it should occur and can be done remotely or in person while observing social distance. The preference is to hold them remotely.

  1. Pre- and Post-Judgment Status Quo
  2. Motions to enforce parenting time
  3. Any hearing that is necessary because of public health
  4. Family Law facilitation and mediation

NON-ESSENTIAL PROCEEDINGS

  1. Every other hearing must be postponed to after June 1, 2020 unless a party successfully moves the court otherwise.

ANCILLARY PROCEEDINGS

  1. Any court-annexed mandatory or voluntary arbitration, mediation, or settlement conferences are postponed and limited to the extent that the underlying case is itself postponed.
  2. Can be held remotely or in person if the arbitrators/mediators/etc. can do with social distancing.

MOTIONS

  1. Must be held remotely unless constitutional or statutory rights dictate in person.
  2. Hearings on motions can be held in person if the moving party shows need, imminent harm, or other good cause.

ALL OTHER COURT SERVICES

  1. Generally, the courts are still
    1. Processing new filings
    2. Issuing notices, orders, judgments
    3. Signing STIPULATED JUDGMENTS and ORDERS
    4. Keeping the register updated
    5. Performing any other essential services
    6. Answering the phone during business hours.

IN PERSON HEARING/MEETING RULES

  1. Social distance, clean space, precautions.
  2. No more than 5 people unless authorized by the Presiding.

FINES, FEES, COSTS

  1. Court is encouraged to waive considering the current situation.

ORDERS FOR SELECT COUNTIES AND FROM OREGON SUPREME COURT

Oregon Supreme Court Orders

  1. Amended Order: courts.oregon.gov/rules/Documents/CJO-20-006-AmendedOrderImposingLevel3RestrictionsCourtOperations.pdf
  2. Reduced Fees Order: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/rules/Documents/CJO20-010-AuthorizingWaiverOrSuspensionOfPSASFees.pdf
  3. Electronic Signatures Order: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/rules/UTCR/CJO_2020-008.pdf
  4. Press Release: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/news/Lists/ArticleNews/Attachments/1321/1ff91edf3d37ee489b78289; 309e59b45-3-27-20-COVID-Press-Release.pdf

Marion County Presiding Judge Orders: Marion County will only be providing essential functions and we will have limited resources to answer phones.

  1. Presiding Judge Order 20-06: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/marion/Documents/20MARPJO20-06.pdf
  2. Presiding Judge Order 20-05: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/marion/Documents/20MARPJO20-05.pdf

Polk County Presiding Judge Orders: None issued as of March 5, 2020.

Yamhill County Presiding Judge Orders: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/news/Lists/ArticleNews/Attachments/1312/YAM-PJO%2020-004-ITMOChangeHoursOperation.pdf

Lincoln County Presiding Judge Orders: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/rules/Documents/LNN-PJO-20200401111420884.pdf

Lane County Presiding Judge Orders: None issued as of March 5, 2020.

Sarah M. Litowich's Profile Image
Salem family law attorney Sarah M. Litowich is an Oregonian through and through, with roots in rural eastern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. She is grateful for these deep Oregon roots because she learned the value of hard work and building and mai… Read More

Meet Our Whole Team

Contact Us Confidentially

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.