Facts Judicially Noticed. Judicial notice is a rule in the law of evidence that permits a fact to be introduced into evidence if the truth of that fact is so notoriously noticed or so authoritatively attested, that it cannot reasonably be doubted. this is done upon the request of the party seeking to rely on the fact at issue.
Facts judicially noticed constitute another class of facts which need not be proved by evidence. By Section 122 of the Act, “No fact of which the court must take judicial notice need be proved; such a fact need not be proved by evidence as the judge or magistrate accepts its existence as established.
In Saraki V. Kotoye (1990)4 NWLR (pt 143) 144 at 195; the Supreme court defined judicial notice as the cognizance taken by the court itself of certain matters which are so notorious or clearly established that evidence of their existence is deemed unnecessary.
There are certain facts, which must be judicially noticed and others which may be judicially noticed. Where a fact must be judicially noticed, the court is under a mandate or an obligation to take judicial notice of that fact. On the other hand, where a fact may be judiciously noticed, it means that the court has discretion either to take judicial notice of it or not.
The court must take judicial notice of the following facts:
- All laws and enactments and any subsidiary legislation made under them having the force of law now or previously in any part of Nigeria.
- Course of proceedings in the National Assembly and of the Houses of Assembly of the states of Nigeria. Etc. See the case of Mohammed V. C.O.P. (1987)4 NWLR (PT. 65) 420.
Facts which the court may take judicial notice
There are quiet a sizeable number of other facts which the court may take judicial notice of. Indeed, no exhaustive list can be drawn of such matters. As such, the court may be invited to take judicial notice of a fact which has not been previously judicially noticed. However, it is not in all cases that a court is invited to take judicial notice of a fact that it will do so.
Thus, in Anokwu V. C.OP (1975) NMLR 402; it was held that the terms and abbreviations of which a court can take judicial notice are limited. Accordingly, the prosecution should ensure that esoteric terms and abbreviations are explained to the courts in evidence. Indeed, there are cases in which the court refused to take judicial notice of certain facts. In Cyril Areh V. C.O.P. (1959) WRNL 230.
Facts of common knowledge – Facts Judicially Noticed
Section 124 (1) of the Act provides that:
“Proof shall not be required of a fact the knowledge of which is not reasonably open to question and which is –
- Common knowledge in the locality in which the proceeding is being held; or generally
- Capable of verification by reference to a document the authority of which cannot reasonably be questioned.