Rule 602. Need for Personal Knowledge.
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 witnesss own testimony. This rule does not apply to a witnesss expert testimony under Rule 703.
This rule is identical to F.R.E. 602.
Personal or firsthand knowledge is a universal requirement of the law of evidence. See Johnson v. Peoples Cab Co., 386 Pa. 513, 51415, 126 A.2d 720, 721 (1956) (The primary object of a trial in our American courts is to bring to the tribunal, which is passing on the dispute involved, those persons who know of their own knowledge the facts to which they testify.). Pa.R.E. 602 refers to Pa.R.E. 703 to make clear that there is no conflict with Rule 703, which permits an expert to base an opinion on facts not within the experts personal knowledge.
It is implicit in Pa.R.E. 602 that the party calling the witness has the burden of proving personal knowledge. This is consistent with Pennsylvania law. Carney v. Pennsylvania R.R. Co., 428 Pa. 489, 240 A.2d 71 (1968).
Generally speaking, the personal knowledge requirement of Rule 602 is applicable to the declarant of a hearsay statement. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Pronkoskie, 477 Pa. 132, 383 A.2d 858 (1978) and Carney v. Pennsylvania R.R. Co., 428 Pa. 489, 240 A.2d 71 (1968). However, personal knowledge is not required for an opposing partys statement under Pa.R.E. 803(25). See Salvitti v. Throppe, 343 Pa. 642, 23 A.2d 445 (1942); Carswell v. SEPTA, 259 Pa. Super. 167, 393 A.2d 770 (1978). In addition, Pa.R.E. 804(b)(4) explicitly dispenses with the need for personal knowledge for statements of personal or family history, and Pa.R.E. 803(19), (20) and (21) impliedly do away with the personal knowledge requirement by permitting testimony as to reputation to prove personal or family history, boundaries or general history, and a persons character.
Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the January 17, 2013 rescission and replacement published with the Courts Order at 43 Pa.B. 651 (February 2, 2013).
The provisions of this Rule 602 rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective in sixty days, 43 Pa.B. 620. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (360808) to (360809).
No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.
This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Code full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.