Rule 201. Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts

 

(a)   Scope. This rule governs judicial notice of an adjudicative fact only, not a legislative fact.

 

(b)   Kinds of Facts That May Be Judicially Noticed. The court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it:

 

(1)   is generally known within the trial court’s territorial jurisdiction; or

 

(2)   can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

 

(c)   Taking Notice. The court:

(1)   may take judicial notice on its own; or

 

(2)   must take judicial notice if a party requests it and the court is supplied with the necessary information.

 

(d)      Timing. The court may take judicial notice at any stage of the proceeding.

 

(e)   Opportunity to Be Heard. On timely request, a party is entitled to be heard on the propriety of taking judicial notice and the nature of the fact to be noticed. If the court takes judicial notice before notifying a party, the party, on request, is still entitled to be heard.

 

(f)    Instructing the Jury. In a civil case, the court must instruct the jury to accept the noticed fact as conclusive. In a criminal case, the court must instruct the jury that it may or may not accept the noticed fact as conclusive.

 

2011 Advisory Committee Note. – The language of this rule has been amended as part of the restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility. This rule is the federal rule, verbatim.

 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE NOTE

 

This rule is the federal rule, verbatim, and consolidates the law of judicial notice formerly contained in Rules 9 through 12, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971) and in Utah Code Annotated, § 78-25-1 (1953) into one broadly defined rule. The Utah Supreme Court has stated the rule with reference to judicial notice in Little Cottonwood Water Co. v. Kimball, 76 Utah 243, 267, 289 Pac. 116 (1930) where the court stated: "In short, a court is presumed to know what every man of ordinary intelligence must know about such things." See also DeFusion Co. v. Utah Liquor Control Comm'n, 613 P.2d 1120 (Utah 1980).

 

Subdivision (a) "governs only judicial notice of adjudicative facts," and does not deal with instances in which a court may notice legislative facts, which is left to the sound discretion of trial and appellate courts. Compare Rule 12, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). Since legislative facts are matters that go to the policy of a rule of law as distinct from the true facts that are used in the adjudication of a controversy they are not appropriate for a rule of evidence and best left to the law-making considerations by appellate and trial courts.

 

Subdivision (b) is in accord with the Little Cottonwood Water Co. case, supra, and the substance of Rule 9(1) and (2), Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). Utah law presumes that the law of another jurisdiction is the same as that of the State of Utah and judicial notice has been taken from the law of other states and foreign countries. Lamberth v. Lamberth, 550 P.2d 200 (Utah 1976); Maple v. Maple, 566 P.2d 1229 (Utah 1977). The Utah court has taken judicial notice under Rule 9(2), Utah Rules of Evidence (1971) of the rules and regulations of the Tax Commission. Nelson v. State Tax Comm'n, 29 Utah 2d 162, 506 P.2d 437 (1973). The broad language of subdivision (b) is identical to Rule 201 of the Uniform Rules of Evidence (1974). Judicial notice of foreign law is permissible under this rule. Provisions of this rule supersede Utah Code Annotated, Section 78-25-1 (1953), since the statute is merely illustrative of items encompassed within the broad framework of this rule. The foreign law of some jurisdictions might best be left to proof through witnesses if the resort to sources available in the State of Utah is questionable.

 

Subdivision (c) is discretionary, but subdivision (d) requires the court to take judicial notice if requested by a party and if supplied with the necessary information to make a determination of whether to take judicial notice. Compare Rules 9(2) and 10(3), Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). The committee believes that Rule 201(d) simplifies the process of taking judicial notice of adjudicative facts by making it mandatory when a party makes a request therefor and supplies the court with the necessary information.

 

Subdivision (e) is similar to Rule 10(1), (2) and (3), Utah Rules of Evidence (1971).

 

Subdivision (g) is in accord with Rule 11, Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). The provision that in a criminal case the court shall instruct the jury that it may but is not required to accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed has no counterpart in Utah Rules of Evidence (1971). Accord, State v. Lawrence, 120 Utah 323, 234 P.2d 600 (1951). See also Amendment VI, Constitution of the United States.