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Rules of Evidence Table of Contents

RULES OF EVIDENCE

ARTICLE II. JUDICIAL NOTICE

Rule 201. Judicial Notice


    (a) Kinds of facts. A court may take judicial notice of a fact. 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.

    (b) Kinds of law. A court may take judicial notice of law. Law includes (1) the decisional, constitutional, and public statutory law, (2) rules of court, (3) regulations of governmental agencies, and (4) ordinances of municipalities and other governmental subdivisions of the United States or of any state, territory or other jurisdiction of the United States.

    (c) When discretionary. A court may take judicial notice, whether requested or not.

    (d) When mandatory. A court shall take judicial notice if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information.

    (e) Opportunity to be heard. A party is entitled upon timely request to an opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking judicial notice and the tenor of the matter noticed. In the absence of prior notification, the request may be made after judicial notice has been taken.

    (f) Time of taking notice. Judicial notice may be taken at any stage of the proceeding.

    (g) Instructing jury. In a civil action or proceeding, the court shall instruct the jury to accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed. 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.

 

2016 NHRE Update Committee Note

This rule was not amended in 2016 to mirror the federal rule.

Subsections (a) and (b) of the New Hampshire Rule are structured differently from the Federal Rule. The Federal Advisory Committee placed notice of the law in the rules of procedure due to their “assumption that the manner in which law is fed into the judicial process is never a proper concern of the rules of evidence but rather the rules of procedure.” See Note on Judicial Notice of Law following Federal Rule of Evidence 201. The structure of New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 201 honors the contrary thesis. When a rule of law is a factor in issue in the litigation, it should be fed into the judicial process in the same manner - and subject to the same safeguards - as are facts generally. In practice, the federal courts also rely on judicial notice to feed law into the judicial process, but without the benefit of the rule. New Hampshire Rule 201 legitimizes this practice.


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