ORS 46.415
Circuit judges to sit in department

  • procedure


The judges of a circuit court shall sit as judges of the small claims department.


No formal pleadings other than the claim shall be necessary.


The hearing and disposition of all cases shall be informal, the sole object being to dispense justice promptly and economically between the litigants. The parties shall have the privilege of offering evidence and testimony of witnesses at the hearing. The judge may informally consult witnesses or otherwise investigate the controversy and give judgment or make such orders as the judge deems to be right, just and equitable for the disposition of the controversy.


No attorney at law or person other than the plaintiff and defendant and their witnesses shall appear on behalf of any party in litigation in the small claims department without the consent of the judge of the court.


Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 9.320 (Necessity for employment of attorney), a party that is not a natural person, the state or any city, county, district or other political subdivision or public corporation in this state, without appearance by attorney, may appear as a party to any action in the small claims department and in any supplementary proceeding in aid of execution after entry of a small claims judgment.


Assigned claims may be prosecuted by an assignee in small claims department to the same extent they may be prosecuted in any other state court.


When spouses are both parties to a case, one spouse may appear on behalf of both spouses in mediation or litigation in the small claims department:


With the written consent of the other spouse; or


If the appearing spouse declares under penalty of perjury that the other spouse consents. [1971 c.760 §3; 1973 c.484 §6; 1981 s.s. c.1 §22; 1987 c.811 §1; 1993 c.282 §2; 1995 c.658 §44; 1997 c.808 §§6,7; 2015 c.7 §3; 2017 c.268 §1]

Source: Section 46.415 — Circuit judges to sit in department; procedure, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors046.­html.

Notes of Decisions

Where petitioner failed to request from small claims court permission to obtain counsel, petitioner could not challenge constitutionality of provision of this section requiring court’s consent to appearance of counsel. Carden v. Johnson, 282 Or 169, 577 P2d 513 (1978)

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