LACK OF NEED FOR PERSONAL
KNOWLEDGE A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced
sufficient to support a
finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal
knowledge may, but need not, consist of the witness' own testimony. This rule is subject to
the provisions of Rule 703, relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.
A witness may testify to a matter only if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may consist of the witness's own testimony. This rule does not apply to a witness's expert testimony under Rule 703.
Rule 602 was amended, effective March 1, 1990; March 1, 2014.
This rule deals with the competency of a witness, but only in a most basic sense. The
requirement of personal knowledge is deeply embedded in the common law
McCormick on Evidence, § 10 (2d ed. 1972)), and is established in North Dakota case
law. See Teegarden v. Dahl, 138 N.W.2d 668, 46 A.L.R.3d 708 (N.D. 1965).
The rule states that a witness may
not testify "unless evidence is
introduced sufficient to
support a finding" "if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding"
that the witness
has personal knowledge. This gives the trial judge the power to reject testimony if the judge
finds, as a matter of law, that no reasonable juror could believe that the witness perceived
the event about which the witness is testifying.
The last sentence is intended to avoid any confusion which might otherwise arise concerning the relative requirements of this rule and Rule 703. This rule is subordinate to Rule 703, which does not require that an expert opinion be based on the expert's own perception.
Rule 602 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendments are technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Rule 602 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, in response to the December 1, 2011, revision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes
: of April 26-27, 2012,
page 22; March 24-25,
1988, page 12; December 3, 1987, page 15; April 8, 1976, page 26. Rule
Fed.R.Ev. 602 ,
Federal Rules of Evidence; Rule 602, SBAND proposal.