Rules of evidence

Rules of evidence govern whether, when, how, and for what purpose proof of a case may be placed before a trier of fact for consideration.

In the judicial systems of Canada and the United States, the trier of fact may be a judge or a jury, depending on the purpose of the trial and the choices of the parties.

The rules of evidence have been developed over the last thousand years and are based upon the rules from English Common Law brought to the New World by early settlers. Their purpose is to be fair to both parties, disallowing the raising of allegations without a basis in provable fact. They are sometimes criticized as a legal technicality, but are an important part of the system for achieving a just result.

Prevailing in court requires a good understanding of the rules of evidence in the given venue. The rules vary depending upon whether the venue is a criminal court, civil court or family court, and they vary by jurisdiction. One reason to have a lawyer, among others, is that he or she should be familiar with the rules of evidence. If one were allowed simply to tell the court what one knew to be the truth, and how one knew it, one might prevail. However, the rules of evidence may prohibit one from presenting one's story just as one likes.

Perhaps the most important of the Rules of Evidence is that hearsay testimony is inadmissible (although there are many exceptions to this rule). This makes it impossible for the accuser to induce friends or family to give false evidence in support of their accusations because, normally, this evidence would be rejected by the presiding authority or judge. There are several examples where presiding authorities are not bound by the rules of evidence. These include the military tribunals established by the United States of America and tribunals used in Australia to try health professionals.

Some important rules involve relevance, privilege, witnesses, opinions, expert testimony, hearsay, authenticity, identification and rules of physical evidence.

ee also

* Canada Evidence Act
* United States Federal Rules of Evidence

External links

* [ Federal Rules of Evidence (Cornell Univ)]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rules of Evidence — Rules of court which govern the admissibility of evidence at trials and hearings; e.g. Federal Rules of Evidence (applicable in U.S. district courts and federal bankruptcy courts); Uniform Rules of Evidence; Maine Rules of Evidence; California… …   Black's law dictionary

  • rules of evidence — Standards governing whether evidence in a civil or criminal case is admissible. Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations …   Law dictionary

  • rules of evidence — Principles which express the mode or manner of proving the facts and circumstances upon which a party relies to establish a fact in dispute. Kring v Missouri, 107 US 221, 27 L Ed 506, 2 S Ct 443. Rules provided by statute or by the agency itself… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • rules of evidence — laws with regulate the methods for using proof in a court of law …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Federal Rules of Evidence — The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) govern the admission of facts by which parties in the federal courts of the United States may prove their cases. They were the product of protracted academic, legislative, and judicial examination before they… …   Wikipedia

  • Federal Rules of Evidence — n. Rules governing the admission of evidence before U.S. district courts, U.S. magistrates, and bankruptcy court, which have been used as a model for rules of evidence by many states. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of …   Law dictionary

  • Federal Rules of Evidence — Rules which govern the admissibility of evidence at trials in the Federal District Courts and before U.S. Magistrates. Many states have adopted Evidence Rules patterned on these federal rules. See 28 U.S.C.A. No.No. 2072 2074 …   Black's law dictionary

  • evidence — ev·i·dence 1 / e və dəns, ˌdens/ n [Medieval Latin evidentia, from Latin, that which is obvious, from evident evidens clear, obvious, from e out of, from + videns, present participle of videre to see]: something that furnishes or tends to furnish …   Law dictionary

  • evidence — /ev i deuhns/, n., v., evidenced, evidencing. n. 1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof. 2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever. 3.… …   Universalium

  • Evidence (law) — The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e.g., oral or written statements, such as an affidavit) and exhibits (e.g., physical objects) or other documentary material which is admissible (i.e., allowed to be considered by the trier of fact …   Wikipedia

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