There are facts that need not be proved by evidence. The usual method of proving facts in court is by the oral testimony of witnesses or production of documentary or real evidence. There are, however, certain exceptions to this general and fundamental principle of our law of evidence. In other words, there are certain matters or facts which need not be proved by evidence.
Proof of these matters is not required either because the facts involved are not contested or are admitted or are presumed to exist. In all of these matters, the truth or existence of these matters is taken for granted or to put it more realistically, the truth or existence of these matters is regarded as proved and, therefore, are not required to be proved by evidence.
Facts which need not be proved
These facts once admitted need no extra proof in court
- Facts admitted for the purposes of trial
- Facts judiciously noticed
- Facts presumed
- Facts of common knowledge
Judicial notice in Nigeria
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.
Section 123 of the evidence act 2011
No facts needs to be proved in any civil proceeding which the parties to the proceeding or their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which, before the hearing, they they agree to admit by any writing under their hands, or which by any rule or pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings.
Provided that the court may, in its discretion, require the facts admitted to be proved otherwise than by such admissions.
Section 56 evidence act
Where a criminal proceedings, a certificate purports to be signed by an officer of the central Bank of Nigeria who himself adds after his signature the words “duly authorized by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria” it shall be accepted by all courts and persons as sufficient evidence of the facts stated in the certificate, and no certificate shall be questioned on the ground only of the authorisation; but subject to this, section 55(3) shall have effect with regard to any such certificate.
Cases on admission of facts
- Ejuren vs COP (1961) ALL NLR 478
- Olufosoye vs Olorunfemi (1989)1 NWLR (pt 95) 26 at 93