Using Judicial Notice to Determine Foreign Law In Texas

Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Evidence provides: A court upon its own motion may, or upon the motion of a party shall, take judicial notice of the constitutions, public statutes, rules, regulations, ordinances, court decisions, and common law of every other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States. a party requesting that judicial notice be taken of such matter shall furnish the court sufficient information to enable it properly to comply with the request, and shall give all parties such notice, if any as the court may deem necessary, to enable all parties fairly to prepare to meet the opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking judicial notice and the tenor of the matter noticed. In the absence of proper notification, the request may be made after judicial notice has been taken. Judicial notice of such matters may be taken at any stage of the proceeding. the court's determination shall be subject to review as a ruling on a question of law. TEX. R. EVID. 202. Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Evidence provides the requirements for the determination of law of other states. A court may take judicial notice of the laws of another jurisdiction at any point in a proceeding. See TEX. R. EVID. 202. The issue of a choice-of-law determination is distinct from the court's power to generally take judicial notice of a foreign state's law. Thus, the mere fact that the court may take judicial notice of foreign laws does not mean that choice-of-law issues may be raised at any point in the proceeding. A preliminary motion is, therefore, necessary to assure the application of the laws of another jurisdiction. General Chem. Corp. v. De La Lastra, 852 S.W.2d 916, 919-20 (Tex.1993). Rule 202 does not require a motion to take judicial notice of the law of another state to be in writing; however, it does require the party requesting judicial notice to "furnish the court sufficient information to enable it to properly comply with the request." See TEX. R. EVID. 202. Upon receiving such a motion, rule 202 compels the court to take judicial notice. Id. The failure to provide adequate proof relieves the court of this requirement and results in a presumption that the law of the foreign jurisdiction is identical to the law of Texas. See Pittsburgh Corning Corp. v. Walters, 1 S.W.3d 759, 769 (Tex.App.-Corpus Christi 1999 no pet.). Moreover, the determination of compliance with the requirement of rule 202 is within the discretion of the trial court. See Daugherty v. Southern Pac. Transp. 772 S.W.2d 81 (Tex. 1989).