Judicial notice is the most underused—and underappreciated—form of evidence available to trial lawyers. A method of introducing facts into evidence, judicial notice is often the simplest and most efficient way to establish facts that are essential to your case. And it usually does not cost a thing.
In the federal system, judicial notice is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 201. The rule expressly applies only to “adjudicative,” not “legislative,” facts. There is no definition of these terms in the rule; they are drawn from common law. Adjudicative facts are those that relate to the issues to be decided in the case, i.e., the who, what, where, when, how, and why of what happened. Legislative facts relate to matters of public policy, social custom, and the like.