ACCESS TO THE COURTS IS VITAL. All citizens are entitled to their day in court. Our courts have suffered significant budget cuts since 2008. While efficiencies have been found, the budget cuts have reduced court access by forcing closure days and reducing key services. It's important to all Oregonians to restore adequate funding for the judicial branch.
Quality of Life. Property crimes such as burglary, vandalism, and shoplifting contribute to a feeling that we don't live in a healthy community. With fewer resources, courts will have to make prosecution of these crimes a lower priority.
Public Safety. As courts are forced to make hard choices on what criminal cases to hear, the resolution of "person crimes" such as assault and robbery may be delayed as well.
Economic Climate. The civil justice system resolves disputes between businesses and citizens. Prompt resolution of business disputes is crucial to maintain a healthy business climate. Businesses need answers, not uncertainty. Many small businesses - particularly in real estate, finance, and landlord-tenant matters - rely on the courts every day. Unlike criminal cases, which must be resolved within certain timeframes, the Constitution gives civil cases a lower priority. Yet even small delays cost businesses money and impede Oregon's economic recovery.
Vulnerable Citizens. People in crisis turn to the courts for basic protection and often need immediate court services. These at-risk citizens need access to domestic violence restraining orders, child abuse and neglect protection, guardianships and conservatorships to be put in place, and more.
ADEQUATE COURT FUNDING IS CRITICAL. Most businesses and public agencies can adjust their workloads based on their resources. The courts' workload, however, is determined by the cases that come through the courthouse doors. The only flexibility afforded a court with inadequate resources is in determining which cases to delay.
To the people involved - neighbors in a dispute, defendants awaiting hearings, families seeking safety, businesses pursuing claims, crime victims seeking justice - no case is inconsequential. The state owes all its citizens access to justice.
Budget cuts have already created delays and backlogs in processing cases, and further cuts will not only jeopardize the economic and business climate and weaken our communities, but will put constitutional rights at risk.
Oregon's courts have become leaner over the last decade, changing the way they do business to meet the needs of citizens and businesses. Those running the courts intend to continue this process with investments in technology to save money and provide better service, but they need sufficient operating funds to stay.
FUNDING EQUALS ACCESS TO JUSTICE.
Courts exist to provide citizens with their day in court.
Funding cuts threaten the rights of all citizens.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
Adequate court funding results in the right to access to the courts and to justice.
Access to the courts means improved quality of life, public safety, economic stability, and protection of vulnerable citizens.
Talking Points and Information on the Court Budget
OSB Court Funding Resolutions
OSB Board of Governors Resolutions in Support of Stable Funding in the Court System
Letters to Legislators on Court Funding
Letter sent to Legislators from 2013 Oregon State Bar President Michael Haglund
A letter that can be sent out to other business leaders explaining our concerns
Sample letters that business leaders can modify and send out to their individual legislators.
To find out who your legislator is, please click here.
Please send us copies of any letters sent to legislators so we can make sure to follow up with them.
Contact Information for the Oregon Legislature Ways and Means Full Committee and