Juvenile Code: General Provisions and Definitions

ORS 419A.150

  • qualifications
  • hearings
  • orders
  • rehearings


The judge of the juvenile court may appoint one or more persons as referee of the juvenile court. A referee shall be appointed in every county in which there is no resident juvenile court judge. A person appointed referee must be qualified by training and experience in the handling of juvenile matters, must have such further qualifications as may be prescribed by law and holds office as referee at the pleasure of the judge. The state shall pay the compensation of a referee appointed by the judge of a circuit court from funds available for the purpose. The county shall pay the compensation of a referee appointed by the judge of a county court.


The judge may direct that any case, or all cases of a class designated by the judge, be processed or heard in the first instance by a referee in the manner provided for the hearing of cases by the court. Upon conclusion of the hearing in each case, the referee shall transmit to the judge the findings, recommendations or order in writing of the referee.


When the referee conducts a hearing, the persons entitled to request rehearing as provided in subsection (7) of this section must be notified of the referee’s findings, recommendations or order, together with a notice to the effect that a rehearing may be had before a judge if requested within 10 days. A rehearing before a judge of the juvenile court may be determined on the same evidence introduced before the referee if a stenographic transcript of the proceedings was kept, but, in any case, additional evidence may be presented.


All orders of a referee become immediately effective, subject to the right of review provided in this section, and continue in full force and effect, unless stayed by order of the referee or by a juvenile court judge, until vacated or modified upon rehearing by order of a judge of the juvenile court. Any order entered by a referee becomes a final order of the juvenile court upon expiration of 10 days following its entry, unless a rehearing is ordered or requested.


The judge of the juvenile court or, in counties having more than one judge of the juvenile court, the presiding judge of the juvenile court may establish requirements that any or all orders of referees must be expressly approved by a judge of the juvenile court before becoming effective.


A judge of the juvenile court may, on the judge’s own motion, order a rehearing of any matter heard before a referee.


At any time prior to the expiration of 10 days after the entry of the order and findings of a referee into the court register, a child, ward, youth, adjudicated youth, the parent, guardian, district attorney, Department of Human Services, juvenile department or other party affected by the order may request rehearing. The request for rehearing must be served upon all parties by the party requesting the rehearing.


All rehearings of matters heard before a referee shall be heard expeditiously by a judge of the juvenile court within 30 days after the filing of the request, unless the court orders a continuance. In no event may the rehearing occur later than 45 days after the date of the filing of the request. The rehearing is conducted de novo.


Notwithstanding subsection (7) of this section, when a referee finds that a youth is not within the jurisdiction of the court in a proceeding brought under ORS 419C.005 (Jurisdiction), the district attorney may not request a rehearing. [1993 c.33 §43; 1993 c.546 §7; 2003 c.396 §24; 2021 c.489 §44]

Notes of Decisions

Under former similar statute

No particular qualitative or quantitative level of procedural participation is required to qualify as person appearing on child’s behalf for purposes of requesting rehearing. State ex rel Children’s Services Div. v. Dolan, 47 Or App 401, 614 P2d 614 (1980)

At rehearing, juvenile court judge is not bound by interlocutory order of referee. State ex rel Juvenile Dept. v. M, 62 Or 785, 662 P2d 733 (1983)

Child has no right to initial hearing before referee. State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Arevalo, 117 Or App 505, 844 P2d 928 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

Child was not prejudiced when informed just before hearing that judge, rather than referee, would hear case. State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Arevalo, 117 Or App 505, 844 P2d 928 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

In general

Where mother failed to appear before referee at pretrial conference, this section does not bar mother from presenting evidence at rehearing. Dept. of Human Services v. J. R. D., 286 Or App 55, 398 P3d 489 (2017)

Party at rehearing before juvenile court of referee’s decision is permitted to present additional evidence during that rehearing, which is rehearing of matter before referee as if it had been originally commenced before juvenile court. Dept. of Human Services v. J. R. D., 286 Or App 55, 398 P3d 489 (2017)


Last accessed
May 30, 2023