Request for Judicial Notice

As litigators, we do not routinely request judicial notice, but when used properly, it is a powerful evidentiary tool. In California, judicial notice is often used to take notice of documents filed in courts, and the meaning of legal definitions, It is an efficient way to introduce otherwise admissible evidence and it eliminates the need for additional proof. Judicial notice helps get documents into the court record and establishes authenticity. Once documents are admitted, the judicial notice is limited to facts, not the documents themselves. 

The court’s ability to take notice is codified in the Evidence Code. Section 452 provides that judicial notice may be take of “[o]fficial acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States,” and “[r]ecords of (1) any court of this state or (2) any court of record of the United States or of any state of the United States.” When requesting judicial notice, care must be taken not to request notice of the truth of the matters stated within the particular document. Such a request is improper. (Flores v. Arroyo (1961) 56 Cal.2d. 492, 496; Love v. Wolf (1964) 226 Cal. App.2d 378, 403). 

Nowadays, much information is gathered from the internet, including websites and web pages. However, California law does not allow for the taking of judicial notice of the contents of a website where such contents are hearsay and not self-authenticating. Simply because information is on the Internet does not mean it is not reasonably subject to dispute, even information located on a government web page. Information on websites must still be proven (Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 872,889).

You may also oppose a request for judicial notice by arguing evidentiary objections such as hearsay, lack of personal knowledge, both other evidence objections. In sum, judicial notice is a powerful evidentiary tool – if properly requested and granted, you will efficiently introduce evidence and eliminate the need for additional proof. 

-Written by attorney Monica Castillo, Esq.

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