Judicial Notice


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Judicial Notice

A doctrine of evidence applied by a court that allows the court to recognize and accept the existence of a particular fact commonly known by persons of average intelligence without establishing its existence by admitting evidence in a civil or criminal action.

When a court takes judicial notice of a certain fact, it obviates the need for parties to prove the fact in court. Ordinarily, facts that relate to a case must be presented to the judge or jury through testimony or tangible evidence. However, if each fact in a case had to be proved through such presentation, the simplest case would take weeks to complete. To avoid burdening the judicial system, all legislatures have approved court rules that allow a court to recognize facts that constitute common knowledge without requiring proof from the parties.

On the federal trial court level, judicial notice is recognized in rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence for U.S. District Courts and Magistrates. Rule 201 provides, in part, that "[a] judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned."

Under rule 201 a trial court must take judicial notice of a well-known fact at the request of one of the parties, if the court is provided with information supporting the fact. A court also has the option to take judicial notice at its discretion, without a request from a party.

Rule 201 further provides that a court may take judicial notice at any time during a proceeding. If a party objects to the taking of judicial notice, the court must give that party an opportunity to be heard on the issue. In a civil jury trial, the court must inform the jury that it must accept the judicially noticed facts in the case as conclusively proved. In a criminal trial by jury, the court must instruct the jury "that it may, but is not required to, accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed." All states have statutes that are virtually identical to rule 201.

The most common judicially noticed facts include the location of streets, buildings, and geographic areas; periods of time; business customs; historical events; and federal, state, and International Law. Legislatures also maintain statutes that give courts the power to recognize certain facts in specific situations. For example, in Idaho any document affixed with the official seal of the state Public Utilities commission must be judicially noticed by all courts (Idaho Code § 61-209 [1996]). In Hawaii, when a commercial vehicle is cited for violating vehicle equipment regulations, a trial court must take judicial notice of the driver's subordinate position if the driver works for a company that owns the vehicle (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 291-37 [1995]).

The danger of judicial notice is that, if abused, it can deprive the fact finder of the opportunity to decide a contestable fact in a case. In Walker v. Halliburton Services, 654 So. 2d 365 (La. App. 1995), Johnny Walker fell from a tank truck approximately ten feet to a concrete floor. Walker sought Workers' Compensation benefits for his injuries, and his claim was denied by the Office of Workers' Compensation.

At the application hearing, the hearing officer stated that it was her experience that a soft-tissue injury heals in six weeks. She then took judicial notice of the fact that a soft-tissue injury heals in six weeks—preventing Walker from contesting that proposition—and disallowed Walker's claim. On appeal the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, reversed the decision and ordered the payment of workers' compensation benefits. According to the court, it was a clear error of law for the hearing officer to take judicial notice of such intricate medical knowledge.

judicial notice

n. the authority of a judge to accept as facts certain matters which are of common knowledge from sources which guarantee accuracy or are a matter of official record, without the need for evidence establishing the fact. Examples of matters given judicial notice are public and court records, tides, times of sunset and sunrise, government rain fall and temperature records, known historic events, or the fact that ice melts in the sun. (See: evidence)

References in periodicals archive ?
It said the CA could take judicial notice the same way the Supreme Court used Inquirer news articles when it upheld former President Joseph Estrada's ouster in the so-called second People Power in 2001.
Judges may not independently investigate the facts in a case before them, but they may take judicial notice of certain facts.
This court should take judicial notice of the money involved while considering his bail," Mr Mungai added.
However, Virginia courts must take judicial notice of what any relevant law is, or was, at any time, whether specially pleaded or not.
31 order and for alleged email spoliation.<br />A hearing was held on March 17, 2016, at which the bankruptcy judge granted Patriot's motion for sanctions, prohibited the debtor from presenting any emails not previously produced, and scheduled the trial to commence on May 23.<br />In a joint pre-trial memorandum, Patriot included "Fustolo's discovery misconduct in this proceeding, including but not limited to Fustolo's spoliation of evidence" among its "fact issues for trial."<br />Three days before trial, Patriot filed a request for the Bankruptcy Court to take judicial notice of several documents, including the Dec.
We take judicial notice that the newly elected NPP Chairman, Mr.
RULE/FORM VOTE EXPLANATION Amendments in 24-1-0 Section 2, chapter 2014-35, Laws of chapter 2014-35, Florida, amended section 90.204(4), Laws of Florida, to Florida Statutes, to enable a family section 90.204(4), court to take judicial notice of certain Florida Statutes.
It is therefore clear that there was insufficient evidence before the trial court of "the customary fee for like work" for the trial court to make a finding on that point, and to award attorneys' fees accordingly."<br />Judge Mark Davis dissented from that portion of the court's ruling, saying that the Court of Appeals has previously upheld an award of attorneys' fees where the trial court took judicial notice of customary hourly rates.
The meeting agreed to work for the provision of legal aid to the victims of abuse and their families, forensic test facilities in the Kasur district, computerisation of DNA identification through NADRA, and a facilitation centre for minor victims of abuse and their families besides a judicial notice on compromise in cases of molestation and murder of victims.The meeting also agreed to carry out an in-depth study and need assessment to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectification of injustice against the children in Kasur.
It covers the basics; relevance, unfair prejudice, and excluding evidence for reasons of policy; preliminary facts and laying a foundation; objections and offers of proof; best and secondary evidence rules and judicial notice; character evidence; habit; uncharged misconduct evidence; lay and expert witnesses; cross-examination, impeachment, and rehabilitation of witnesses; hearsay; privilege; and presumptions.
Facts suitable for judicial notice are both generally known and can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned, according to the Massachusetts guide.
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court to take judicial notice of the derogatory campaign 'orchestrated and choreographed' by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the Supreme Court and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).