oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Judicial notice of foreign law

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The proof of foreign law is one of the perennial problem areas in the conflict of laws because the measure of difficulty inherent in establishing what the law is at a particular time, is exacerbated by the fact that what it seeks to establish is generally so alien. The proof of foreign law was the subject of the seminal decisions of Harnischfeger Corporation and Another v Appleton and Another, and Holz v Harksen2 in which the courts were called upon to interpret section 1 (1) of the Law of Evidence Amendment Act which is to the effect that any court may take judicial notice of the law of a foreign state and of indigenous law insofar as such law can be ascertained readily and with sufficient certainty ... This article will attempt a restatement of the common law principles regarding proof of foreign law, an examination of section (I) in the light of the aforementioned decisions, as well as a statement of the principles governing the proof of foreign law by means of judicial notice.

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