Rule 305 Prima facie evidence. A statute providing that a fact or a group of facts is prima facie evidence of another fact establishes a presumption within the meaning of this article unless the statute expressly provides that such prima facie evidence is conclusive. [L 1980, c 164, pt of 1]

 

RULE 305 COMMENTARY

 

The purpose of this rule is to indicate the construction that should be given to the large number of provisions, scattered throughout the Hawaii Rev. Stat., which state that a fact, or a group of facts, is "prima facie" evidence of another fact. See, e.g., Hawaii Rev. Stat. 560:1-107(1) (1976), making a certified or authenticated copy of a death certificate prima facie evidence of the fact, place, date and time of death and the identity of the decedent; 622-31, making a written finding of "presumed death" prima facie evidence of the death of the person named; 572-13(c), making a certified copy of a certificate of marriage prima facie evidence of the fact of such marriage; 575-2, making the absence of a husband or wife for six continuous months prima facie evidence of desertion; 634-22, making a record or affidavit of process prima facie evidence of all that it contains.

A number of the statutory prima facie evidence provisions contain express language to indicate whether the particular provision affects the burden of proof or only the burden of producing evidence. E.g., Hawaii Rev. Stat. 584-4(b) (1976), which provides that prima facie evidence of paternity may be overcome only by "clear and convincing evidence"; Hawaii Rev. Stat. 701-117 (1976), which provides that contrary evidence that raises "a reasonable doubt in the mind of the trier of fact" is sufficient. Absent such explicit statutory clarification, judicial determination will be required to determine whether a statutory provision creates a presumption affecting the burden of proof or the burden of producing evidence consistent with the criteria established in Rules 303(a) and 304(a) supra.

A few statutes establish either a conclusive presumption, e.g., Hawaii Rev. Stat. 76-51 (1976), or irrebuttable prima facie evidence, e.g., Hawaii Rev. Stat. 480-22(a) (1976). These are conclusive presumptions as defined in Rule 301(2)(A) and, as such, they are not presumptions within the intent of this article and are expressly excluded from the scope of this rule.

 

 

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