Standards of Proof: Aid or Pitfall

Le Roux-Kemp, Andra (2010) Standards of Proof: Aid or Pitfall. Obiter, 31 (3). pp. 686-701. ISSN 1682-5853

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Standards of Proof: Aid or Pitfall

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Abstract

During the course of legal proceedings, evidentiary material is analyzed and evaluated in order to make a final judgement whether the responsible party has discharged the onus of proof. The existence of a standard of proof against which the presiding officer can measure the evidence submitted consequently plays a pivotal role. This standard of proof (bewysmaatstaf) represents the standard of guilt in legal science and has also been described as a standard of conviction. The standard of proof does not pertain to the inherent qualities of evidentiary material, but rather to the degrees of conviction of the presiding officer in a particular case. The function of the standard of proof is furthermore to provide presiding officers with a guideline/yardstick to measure the degree of conviction that the general public believe the presiding officer should have over the correctness of all the factual conclusions in the particular proceedings. In this article, the standard of proof in law will be discussed from a comparative point of view; different standards of proof from different jurisdictions will be considered and juxtaposed against similar standards used in the natural sciences.

Keywords:Standards of Proof, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, On a Balance of Probabilities, Law of Evidence
Subjects:M Law > M290 Law by topic not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:36606
Deposited On:19 Aug 2019 09:30

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