Objects of Evidence

Evidence-based practice in court is not in determining what needs to be done, but rather in how to do it.  In an approach that is dependent upon measuring impact and outcome, it may be the implementation process that holds the key to the success and sustainability of evidence-based practice.  The combination of organizational cultures that resist change and administrators and supervisors who have little experience and knowledge on how to create change, can prove lethal to any change effort.

The key objectives of  Evidence are:

  • Ensure Justice
  • Monitor recent evidence developments, cases and trends.
  • Serve as a key litigation aid and reference source for practitioners at all stages of litigation (from the filing of a case to preparing an appeal).
  • Promote ideas and stimulate discussion on key evidence issues.
  • Save time in finding and keeping up on current evidence cases and developments.
  • Maintain your advantage on evidence law by making it easier to use recent evidence cases in practice .

Key rules of Evidence    

Scales of conclusion in forensic interpretation play an important role in the interface between scientific work at a forensic laboratory and different bodies of the jurisdictional system of a country. Of particular importance is the use of a unified scale that allows interpretation of different kinds of evidence in one common framework. The logical approach to forensic interpretation comprises the use of the likelihood ratio as a measure of evidentiary strength. While fully understood by forensic scientists, the likelihood ratio may be hard to interpret for a person not trained in natural sciences or mathematics. Translation of likelihood ratios to an ordinal scale including verbal counterparts of the levels is therefore a necessary procedure for communicating evidence values to the police and in the courtroom. In this paper, we present a method to develop an ordinal scale for the value of evidence that can be applied to any type of forensic findings. The method is built on probabilistic reasoning about the interpretation of findings and the number of scale levels chosen is a compromise between a pragmatic limit and mathematically well-defined distances between levels.

Any evidence offered by a party at trial is subject to certain Rules of Evidence, which dictate whether or not the evidence may be considered by the decision maker. The Rules of Evidence establish admissibility rules for evidence in court. Each of the coutrs has its own jurisdiction to take evidence, although for the most part these shadow fairly closely the rules. Most legal disputes which get to court involve a dispute about the facts. Some involve a dispute about both law and the facts; a fairly small minority are about the law and nothing else. The facts that are disputed are determined by the substantive law (Contract, Tort, Crime, Company Law, Insolvency Law  etc.  ) and the reactions of the parties to allegations. For instance, on a charge of murder the prosecution must prove that the victim was killed by the defendant who at the time had that mental state specified by the Criminal Law for murder. The facts in issue will be the actions and the mental state of the defendant. If the defendant raises a defence of provocation, then the facts in issue will include the actions of the victim.   The court reconstructs events from the evidence presented by the parties to the court .

Function of the Evidence Act

The function of the law of evidence is mainly to convince the court as to the existence of that state of facts which according to the provisions of sustentative law would establish the existence of the right or liability alleged by the parties of litigation .So for meeting this purpose ,the evidence Act determines :

  1. a) The relevancy of facts or what sort of facts may be proved in order to establish the existence of right or liability defined by the sustentative law.
  2. b) The proof of facts ,what sort of Proof is to be given of those facts &
  3. c) The production of proof of the relevant facts, that is who is to give & how it is to be given & effects of improper admission or rejection of evidence .

The basic features of Evidence

Demonstrative evidence is just what the name implies–it demonstrates or illustrates the testimony of a witness. It will be admissible when, with accuracy sufficient for the task at hand, it fairly and accurately reflects that testimony and is otherwise unobjectionable. Typical examples of demonstrative evidence are maps, diagrams of the scene of an occurrence, animations, and the like. Because its purpose is to illustrate testimony, demonstrative evidence is authenticated by the witness whose testimony is being illustrated. That witness will usually identify salient features of the exhibit and testify that it fairly and accurately reflects what he saw or heard on a particular occasion, such as the location of people or things on a diagram. In gathering evidence in such cases, it will be important to obtain as much supporting details as are available. In particular, clinical evidence and evidence of the nature of the shake/fall/impact etc may be critical in assessing the prosecution case .

Evidence for Legal Purposes

The Law of Evidence is the concept of relevance. Evidence will not be admitted by a court unless it goes some way to show, either directly or indirectly, that a fact in dispute did or did not exist.  The price of ham is irrelevant in an action by a customer against a shopkeeper from whose ham the customer contracted salmonella poisoning.   However, courts will not listen to everything that is relevant. Relevance and admissibility are separate concepts.

During the course we will look at some of the rules of privilege which exist:  the privilege against self-incrimination, legal professional privilege, litigation privilege, without prejudice negotiations and public policy immunity. Time does not permit us to look at all of these. These result in the exclusion of evidence which is often highly probative.  These are all exclusionary rules, founded on public policy, which require a court to ignore relevant evidence. There are many other exclusionary rules including the opinion evidence rule, the rule against admitting evidence of findings by other courts about the facts in dispute and the rule – which applies only in criminal trials- that evidence of a criminal defendant’s propensity to commit crime in general or a particular crime should not be admitted .

Difference between Evidence & Proof

Evidence’ is more of a legal term which involves citing primary secondary, tertiary account or a witness to a particular happening. The usage is common in matters of law and judiciary when a convict deposes and the lawyer cushions up the case by providing evidence. It can be facts, signs, and objects. Proof need not necessarily be a written account. It can be information. Both of them have a very thin line of difference. One is colloquial term and the other is a jargon used in select circumstances/situations.

Evidence is a fact or opinion that might prove some case; it at least supports an opinion. Someone says they saw the killer – that’s evidence. The means by which any alleged matter of fact whose truth is investigated at judicial trial is established or disproved. Where proof – that is when the truth, or as much as we can know of the truth is decided.

In criminal law both evidence and proof lead to a verdict. Although they are linked, evidence and proof are intrinsically different. Evidence is a fact. It is best when it is something tangible but can be circumstantial. Proof is a burden. Proof is conceptual. It is a standard set by the court and also lies in the individual minds of jurors. Evidence is a fact or situation that suggests something might be true. Proof is a fact or situation that removes all doubt.

The Value of Witness Evidence

Evidence of whatever type must be both relevant and admissible. Evidence is relevant if it logically goes to proving or disproving some fact at issue in the prosecution. It is admissible if it relates to the facts in issue, or to circumstances that make those facts probable or improbable, and has been properly obtained. The prosecution is only required to introduce evidence that proves each element of the offence. For example, for an absolute offence, it is not necessary to introduce evidence as to the defendant’s state of mind. This would be irrelevant and inadmissible. The “weight” of the evidence is the reliance that can properly be placed on it by the court. The level of evidence needed in court is always the same for the types of legal action a housing association can take. We must prove ‘on a balance of probabilities’ (the civil standard) that the person committed the antisocial behaviour. This is a lower standard than the criminal burden of proof which is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. This means that we need to put together enough evidence to show that it is more likely than not that the person committed the antisocial behaviour. This will always depend on the specific case and the judge allocated to the case. The best form of evidence is always first-hand witness evidence given directly to the judge in court.

This is because the aim of taking the case to court is to convince the judge that the order is needed. To do this, we must show the judge exactly how bad the situation is and the effect it has been having on people. The most convincing way of demonstrating this is for the judge to hear it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’, from the person who has been suffering. Direct witness evidence also gives the judge the chance to ask any questions he or she needs to in order to get a clearer picture. If the witness is not there, a vital piece of evidence could be missed.

Trials Need Evidence

The law of evidence encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of facts in a legal proceeding. These rules determine what evidence can be considered by the trier of fact in reaching its decision and, sometimes, the weight that may be given to that evidence. The law of evidence is also concerned with the quantum (amount), quality, and type of proof needed to prevail in litigation.

This demonstrates quite well some of the diculties faced by evidence scholars. Much of the thought on epistemology stems from philosophers’ need to represent sense-data and observation apparent to the individual mind on a logical basis to produce a theory of empiricism without the weaknesses involved in fully coherence based notions, nor unwarranted assumptions about the logical nature of causal relationships between observation and belief .However, evidence in criminal law is not exclusively about whether a single mind can have any claims to holding an opinion justified or not. It is about whether, in a very public arena, several neutral minds are persuaded of, or against, a narrow set of claims about the behaviour of an individual, or individuals, and that alleged behaviour in respect of law. A trial is a legal proceeding built out of evidence.

  1. a) Everything that can be legitimately considered must be presented in the form of admissible evidence
  2. b) Evidence is the way the truth of the existence or nonexistence of facts are proved or disproved
  3. c) Remember—”Proof” is not evidence, it is the result of evidence