Judicial Notice



What need not be proved

1.  matters of mandatory judicial notice
2.  matters of discretionary judicial notice
3.  judicial admissions


Judicial notice

Judicial notice is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take and act on without proof because they already know them.


Basis

Judicial notice is based on considerations of expediency an convenience. It operates to save trouble, expense and time which will be lost in establishing in the ordinary way facts which do not admit of contradictions.


A.  Mandatory (Rule 129 §1)

Sec. 1.  Judicial notice, when mandatory. - A court shall take judicial notice, without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions. 


Mandatory Judicial Notice

1. existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality
2.  the law of nations
3.  the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals
4.  the political constitution and history of the Philippines
5. the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines
6.  the laws of nature
7.  the measure of time, and
8.  the geographical divisions


B. Discretionary (Rule 129 §2)

Sec. 2.  Judicial notice, when discretionary. - A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. 


Discretionary judicial notice – matters which are

1. of public knowledge, or
2. are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or
3. ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions


C.  When hearing required (Rule 129 §3)

Sec. 3.  Judicial notice, when hearing necessary. - During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on request of a party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon.

After the trial, and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative or on request of a party, may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case.


When court takes judicial notice

1.  During trial – any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon

2. After trial, and before judgment or on appeal – any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case

Hence, the court can take judicial notice of any matter during the trial as long as there is a hearing. If trial is already over, the court can take judicial notice only of matters decisive of a material issue in the case as long as there is a hearing (p. 88, Francisco).

de Leon: Why on earth would a court take judicial notice of a matter which is not decisive of a material issue in a case?


Foreign laws

The question as to what are the laws of a foreign state is one of fact, not of law. Foreign laws may not be taken judicial notice of and have to be proved like any other fact, except where said laws are within the actual knowledge of the court such as when they are well and generally known or they have been actually ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties claim otherwise. (PCI Bank vs. Escolin, L-67896, March 29, 2974)

To prove the foreign law, the requirements of Sections 24 and 25, Rule 132 must be complied with, that is, by an official publication or by a duly attested and authenticated copy thereof. The provisions of the foreign law may also be the subject of judicial admission under Sec. 4, Rule 129. Absent any of the foregoing evidence or admission, the foreign law is presumed to the same as that in the Philippines, under the so-called doctrine of processual presumption. (CIR vs Fisher, L-11622, Jan. 28, 1961)

To prove an unwritten foreign law, the provisions of Sec. 46, Rule 130 supply the evidential sources or remedies. (Wildvalley Shipping vs. CA, G.R. No. 119602, October 6, 2000)

When a foreign law is part of a published treatise, periodical or pamphlet and the writer is recognized in his profession or calling as expert in the subject, the court may take judicial notice of the treatise containing the foreign law.

When a foreign law refers to the law of nations, said law is subject to mandatory judicial notice under Sec. 1, Rule 129.

Under the Philippine Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. They are therefore technically in the nature of local laws and hence, are subject to a mandatory judicial notice.


Municipal ordinances

MTCs must take judicial notice of municipal ordinances in force in the municipality in which they sit.

RTCs must take judicial notice of municipal ordinances in force in the municipalities within their jurisdiction only 

1. when so required by law. For instance, the charter of City of Manila requires all courts sitting therein to take judicial notice of all ordinances passed by the city council (City of Manila vs. Garcia, 19 SCRA 413)

2. in case on appeal before them and wherein the inferior court took judicial notice of an ordinance involved in said case (US vs. Blanco, 37 Phil 126; US vs, Hernandez, 31 Phil 342).

The Court of Appeals may take judicial notice of municipal ordinances because nothing in the Rules prohibits it from taking cognizance of an ordinance which is capable of unquestionable demonstration (Gallego vs People, L-18247, August 31, 1963).


Cases pending before the court

As a general rule courts are not authorized to take judicial notice, in the adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of the records of other cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending before the same judge. 

However, an exception is when in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original record of the former case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, at the request or with the consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then pending. (Tabuena v. Court of Appeals, 196 SCRA 650, 1991)  


Cases

City of Manila v. Garcia, 19 SCRA 413 (1967)
Baguio v. Vda. de Jalagat, 42 SCRA 337 (1971)
Prieto v. Arroyo, 14 SCRA 549 (1965)
Ozaeta Romulo etc. , 92 SCRA 1 (1979)
Yao-Kee v. Sy-Gonzales, 167 SCRA 736 (1988)
People v. Godoy, 250 SCRA 676 (1995)
Figueras vs. Serrano, 52 Phil 28
T'Boli Agro-Industrial vs. Solilapsi, Adm. Case No. 4766, Dec. 27, 2002)
Chattamal vs. Collector of Customs, 42 Phil 916)


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