“ Judicial notice is a judicial short cut, a doing away, in the caseof evidence, with the formal necessit}7 for evidence, because there isno real necessity for it. So far as matters of common knowledge are
1 (1954) 2 LI. L. Rep. 243.
SANSONI, J.—Mendis Silva v. Ceylon Insurance Co., Ltd.
concerned, it is saying there is no need of formally offering evidenceof those things, because practically everyone knows them in advance,and there can be no question about them. The rule in this respectis well stated on 15 R.CJL». 1057 as follows : “ It may be statedgenerally with regard to the question of what matters are properly ofjudicial cognizance that, while the power of judicial notice is to heexercised with caution, Courts should take notice of whatever is orought to be generally known within the limits of their jurisdiction, forjustice does not require that Courts profess to be more ignorant thanthe rest of mankind. This rule enumerates three material requi-sites : (1) The matter of which the Court will take judicial noticemust be a matter of common and general knowledge. The fact thatthe belief is not universal, however, is not controlling, for there isscarcely any belief that is accepted by everyone. Coxirts take judicialnotice of those things which are common knowledge to the majorityof mankind, or to those persons familiar with the particular matterin question. But matters of which Courts have judicial knowledgeare uniform and fixed, and do not depend upon an uncertain testi-mony ; as soon as circumstances become disputable, it ceases to fallunder the head of common knowledge, and so will not be judiciallyrecognised, (2) A matter properly a subject of judicial notice must be“ known that is, well established and authoritatively settled, notdoubtful or uncertain. In every instance the test is whether sufficientnotoriety attaches to the fact involved as to make it safe and properto assume its existence without proof. ^ In harmony with that view ithas been said that Courts must *' judicially recognise whatever has therequisite certainty and notoriety in every field of knowledge, in everywalk of practical life ” …. (I need not quote the third requisite becaiiseit is not material in this case).
“ The test, therefore, in any particular case where it is sought toavoid or excuse the production of evidence because the fact to beproven is one of general knowledge and notoriety, is : (1) Is the factone of common, everyday knowledge in that jurisdiction, whicheveryone of average intelligence and knowledge of things about himcan be presumed to know 1 and (2) is it certain and indisputable %If it is, it is a proper case for dispensing with evidence, for its productioncannot add or aid. On the other hand, we may well repeat, if thereis any reasonable question whatever as to either point, proof shouldbe required. Only so can the danger involved in dispensing withproof be avoided. Even if the matter be one of judicial cognizance,there is still no error or impropriety in requiring evidence.”
Mr. Wikramanayake submitted that the conclusion of the learnedJudge, drawn from the condition of the three worn tyres, that the lorrywas un-road-worthy, is a question of fact which Should not be interferedwith in appeal. I have already said that I accept the learned Judge’sfinding of fact that three tyres on this lorry were smooth, but the questionthat now arises is the proper inference to be drawn from that fact. Thedifference, as pointed out in Benmax v. Austin Motor Co. Lid.,1 is between
i (1955) A. C. 370.
Eddie Per era v. Yapas, Ltd.
the perception of facts and the evaluation of facts, and I think this Cour^is in a position to judge whether the inference of the lorry being in anun-road-worthy condition was the proper inference to be drawn from thespecific fact found by the learned Judge. I do not think the learnedJudge could take judicial notice of the fact that a lorry with three suchtyres was not in an efficient condition. It seems to me to be a matter tobe established by the evidence of an expert speaking to the facts of theparticular case, for the subject-matter of inquiry is such thatinexperienced persons are unlikely to prove capable of forming a correctjudgment upon it without such assistance.
The learned Judge has also found that the defects in the steeringmechanism of the lorry showed that the lorry was not maintained inefficient condition. Here again there is a total, absence of any evidence,expert or otherwise, as to the condition of the steering mechanism at orbefore the time of the accident. I think it is dangerous to infer that 'the mechanism had not been in efficient condition merely becauseit failed to function just before the accident occurred. It is true thatno major repairs had been done to the lorry since the plaintiff purchasedit second-hand in 194:6, but what was the need for them if the lorry wasworking satisfactorily V Minor repairs were effected when required,and *he lorry was serviced from time to time, and I do not see thatthe plaintiff failed to observe conditioil 5 by failing to look for defectswhich were not apparent.
For these reasons I would set aside the judgment appealed from andgive judgment for the plaintiff in a sum of Us. 5,243-73 and costs in bothCourts.
We'erasooe.iya, J.—I agree.
Judgment set aside.