Evidence (law)
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The
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, ...
of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of
fact A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience Experience is the process through which conscious organisms Perception, pe ...
s in a legal proceeding. These rules determine what evidence must or must not be considered by the trier of fact in reaching its decision. The trier of fact is a judge in bench trials, or the jury in any cases involving a jury. The law of evidence is also concerned with the quantum (amount), quality, and type of proof needed to prevail in litigation. The rules vary depending upon whether the venue is a criminal court, civil court, or family court, and they vary by jurisdiction. The
quantum In physics, a quantum (plural quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity ( physical property) involved in an interaction. The fundamental notion that a physical property can be "quantized" is referred to as "the hypothesis of quantiz ...
of evidence is the amount of evidence needed; the quality of proof is how reliable such evidence should be considered. Important rules that govern
admissibility Admissibility may refer to: Law * Admissible evidence, evidence which may be introduced in a court of law *Admissibility (ECHR), whether a case will be considered in the European Convention on Human Rights system Mathematics and logic

* Admissib ...
concern
hearsay Hearsay evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are two kind of evidence: intellectual evidence (the obvious, the evident) and empirical evidence (pr ...
,
authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proof (truth), proving an Logical assertion, assertion, such as the Digital identity, identity of a computer system user. In c ...
,
relevance Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the second topic when considering the first. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including cognitive scie ...
,
privilege Privilege may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Privilege'' (film), a 1967 film directed by Peter Watkins * ''Privilege'' (Ivor Cutler album), 1983 * ''Privilege'' (Television Personalities album), 1990 * ''Privilege (Abridged) ''Privile ...
,
witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on another witnesses' behalf. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, ei ...
es,
opinion An opinion is a judgement, viewpoint, or Proposition, statement that is not conclusive, rather than facts, which are true statements. Definition A given opinion may deal with subjectivity, subjective matters in which there is no conclusive findi ...

opinion
s,
expert testimony An expert witness, particularly in common law countries such as the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegrap ...
,
identification Identification or identify may refer to: Art and entertainment *Identify (album), ''Identify'' (album) by Got7 *''Kill Command'', 2016 film, also known as ''Identify'' *Identify (song), "Identify" (song) *Identification (album), by Benjamin Ingr ...
and rules of
physical evidence ''Physical Evidence'' is a 1989 American crime thriller film Thriller film, also known as suspense film or suspense thriller, is a broad film genre that evokes excitement and suspense in the audience. The suspense element found in most films' plo ...
. There are various standards of evidence, standards showing how strong the evidence must be to meet the
legal burden of proof Burden of proof is a legal duty that encompasses two connected but separate ideas that apply for establishing the truth of facts in a trial before tribunals in the United States: the "burden of production" and the "burden of persuasion." In a lega ...
in a given situation, ranging from
reasonable suspicion Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof in United States law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitution, which prescribes the ...
to
preponderance of the evidence Burden of proof is a legal duty that encompasses two connected but separate ideas that apply for establishing the truth of facts in a trial before tribunals in the United States: the "burden of production" and the "burden of persuasion." In a lega ...
,
clear and convincing evidence Burden of proof is a legal duty that encompasses two connected but separate ideas that apply for establishing the truth of facts in a trial before tribunals in the United States: the "burden of production" and the "burden of persuasion." In a lega ...
, or
beyond a reasonable doubt Beyond a reasonable doubt is a legal Legal burden of proof, standard of proof required to validate a criminal conviction in most adversarial system, adversarial legal systems. It is a higher standard of proof than Balance of probabilities, the ba ...
. There are several types of evidence, depending on the form or source. Evidence governs the use of
testimony In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. Etymology The words "testimony" and "testify" both derive from the Latin word ''testis'', referring to the notion of a disinterested Third-party source, third- ...
(e.g., oral or written statements, such as an
affidavit An ( ; Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, know ...
),
exhibit Exhibit may refer to: *Exhibit (legal), evidence in physical form brought before the court **Demonstrative evidence, exhibits and other physical forms of evidence used in court to demonstrate, show, depict, inform or teach relevant information to t ...
s (e.g., physical objects), documentary material, or
demonstrative evidence Demonstrative evidence is evidence in the form of a representation Representation may refer to: Law and politics *Representation (politics), political activities undertaken by elected representatives, as well as other theories ** Representative d ...
, which are admissible (i.e., allowed to be considered by the trier of fact, such as
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty or Judgment (la ...

jury
) in a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g., a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, Cr ...
of law). When a dispute, whether relating to a civil or criminal matter, reaches the court there will always be a number of issues which one party will have to prove in order to persuade the court to find in his or her favour. The law must ensure certain guidelines are set out in order to ensure that evidence presented to the court can be regarded as trustworthy.


History


Ancient and medieval law

The
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
demanded at least two witnesses for conviction of a crime. Ancient
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor Ju ...
allowed freedom to judges to evaluate evidence, but insisted that "proof is incumbent on the party who affirms a fact, not on him who denies it" and "no-one should be convicted on suspicion". Medieval Roman law developed an elaborate grading of degrees of evidence. Building on the Biblical two-witness rule, it concluded that a single witness, or private documents, could constitute
half-proofHalf-proof ''(semiplena probatio)'' was a concept of medieval Roman law, describing a level of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are two kind of ev ...
, which though insufficient for conviction might justify
torture Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is ...

torture
to extract further evidence. Because evidence in the continental (civil law) system was evaluated by judges rather than juries, that system did not develop exclusionary rules of evidence in the way English law did.


Anglophone (Common) law

A distinct feature of English
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
historically was the role of the jury as a finder of fact, as opposed to the role of the judge as finder of law. The creation of modern jury trials in the 16th and 17th centuries necessitated rules of evidence to regulate what testimony and other evidence could be put before the jury. While much of the early common law evidence rules came from judicial decisions, the
English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with ...
also played a role. In 1677, Parliament and
the Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territories ...

the Crown
enacted the Statute of Frauds and Perjuries, prohibiting plaintiffs from alleging certain contractual breaches to the jury unless accompanied by a signed, written instrument. Another early evidence rule was the prohibition on
hearsay Hearsay evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are two kind of evidence: intellectual evidence (the obvious, the evident) and empirical evidence (pr ...
, the admission of an out-of-court statement to prove the truth of what is asserted. In the early 19th Century, Chief Justice
Lord Mansfield William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, PC, SL (2 March 170520 March 1793) was a British barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litig ...

Lord Mansfield
of the
Court of Common Pleas A court of common pleas is a common kind of court structure found in various common law jurisdictions. The form originated with the Court of Common Pleas (England), Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, which was created to permit individuals to pre ...
stated:
"In Scotland and most of the continental states, the judges determine upon the facts in dispute as well as upon the law ; and they think there is no danger in their listening to evidence of hearsay, because, when they come to consider their judgment on the merits of the case, they can trust themselves entirely to disregard the hearsay evidence, or to give it any little weight which it may seem to deserve. But in England, where the jury are the sole judges of the fact, hearsay evidence is properly excluded, because no man can tell what effect it might have upon their minds."
Hearsay rules have subsequently been updated numerous times. Most recently in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
, the Civil Evidence Act 1995, section 1, specifically allows for admission of 'hearsay' evidence; legislation also allows for 'hearsay' evidence to be used in criminal proceedings, which makes it possible for the accuser to induce friends or family to give false evidence in support of their accusations because, normally, it 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 in the United States Military tribunals in the United States are military courts designed to Trial (law), try members of enemy forces during wartime, operating outside the scope of conventional Criminal law, criminal and Private law, civil proceedings. The judges are ...
and tribunals used in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
to try health professionals.


Relevance and social policy

In every jurisdiction based on the English common law tradition, evidence must conform to a number of rules and restrictions to be admissible. Evidence must be relevantthat is, it must be directed at proving or disproving a legal element. However, the relevance of evidence is ordinarily a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for the admissibility of evidence. For example, relevant evidence may be excluded if it is unfairly prejudicial, confusing, or the relevance or irrelevance of evidence cannot be determined by logical analysis. There is also general agreement that assessment of relevance or irrelevance involves or requires judgements about probabilities or uncertainties. Beyond that, there is little agreement. Many legal scholars and judges agree that ordinary reasoning, or common sense reasoning, plays an important role. There is less agreement about whether or not judgements of relevance or irrelevance are defensible only if the reasoning that supports such judgements is made fully explicit. However, most trial judges would reject any such requirement and would say that some judgements can and must rest partly on unarticulated and unarticulable hunches and intuitions. However, there is general (though implicit) agreement that the relevance of at least some types of expert evidenceparticularly evidence from the hard sciencesrequires particularly rigorous, or in any event more arcane reasoning than is usually needed or expected. There is a general agreement that judgments of relevance are largely within the discretion of the trial courtalthough relevance rulings that lead to the exclusion of evidence are more likely to be reversed on appeal than are relevance rulings that lead to the admission of evidence. According to Rule 401 of the
Federal Rules of Evidence First adopted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence codify the evidence law The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of fact A fact is an occurrence in ...
(FRE), evidence is relevant if it has the "tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." Federal Rule 403 allows relevant evidence to be excluded "if its
probative Relevance, in the common law of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are two kind of evidence: intellectual evidence (the obvious, the evident) and ...
value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice", if it leads to confusion of the issues, if it is misleading or if it is a waste of time. California Evidence Code section 352 also allows for exclusion to avoid "substantial danger of undue prejudice." For example, evidence that the victim of a car accident was apparently a "liar, cheater, womanizer, and a man of low morals" was unduly prejudicial and irrelevant to whether he had a valid
product liability Product liability is the area of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its envir ...
claim against the manufacturer of the tires on his van (which had rolled over resulting in severe brain damage).


Presence or absence of a jury

The United States has a very complicated system of evidentiary rules; for example,
John Wigmore John Henry Wigmore (1863–1943) was an American lawyer and Jurist, legal scholar known for his expertise in the law of evidence and for his influential scholarship. Wigmore taught law at Keio University in Tokyo (1889–1892) before becoming the ...
's celebrated treatise on it filled ten volumes.
James Bradley Thayer James Bradley Thayer (January 15, 1831 – February 14, 1902) was an American legal theorist and educator. Life Born at Haverhill, Massachusetts Haverhill ( ) is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, Essex County, Massachusetts, United State ...
reported in 1898 that even English lawyers were surprised by the complexity of American evidence law, such as its reliance on exceptions to preserve evidentiary objections for appeal. Some legal experts, notably Stanford legal historian Lawrence Friedman, have argued that the complexity of American evidence law arises from two factors: (1) the right of American defendants to have findings of fact made by a jury in practically all criminal cases as well as many civil cases; and (2) the widespread consensus that tight limitations on the admissibility of evidence are necessary to prevent a jury of untrained laypersons from being swayed by irrelevant distractions. In Professor Friedman's words: "A trained judge would not need all these rules; and indeed, the law of evidence in systems that lack a jury is short, sweet, and clear." However, Friedman's views are characteristic of an earlier generation of legal scholars. The majority of people now reject the formerly-popular proposition that the institution of trial by jury is the main reason for the existence of rules of evidence even in countries such as the United States and Australia; they argue that are at work.


Exclusion of evidence


Unfairness

Under
English law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black' ...
, evidence that would otherwise be admissible at trial may be excluded at the discretion of the trial judge if it would be unfair to the defendant to admit it. Evidence of a confession may be excluded because it was obtained by oppression or because the confession was made in consequence of anything said or done to the defendant that would be likely to make the confession unreliable. In these circumstances, it would be open to the trial judge to exclude the evidence of the confession under Section 78(1) of the
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) (1984 c. 60) is an Act of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the Legislature, legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliam ...
(PACE), or under Section 73 PACE, or under common law, although in practice the confession would be excluded under section 76 PACE. Other admissible evidence may be excluded, at the discretion of the trial judge under 78 PACE, or at common law, if the judge can be persuaded that having regard to all the circumstances including how the evidence was obtained "admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it." In the United States and other countries, evidence may be excluded from a trial if it is the result of illegal activity by law enforcement, such as a search conducted without a warrant. Such illegal evidence is known as the
fruit of the poisonous tree Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...
and is normally not permitted at trial.


Authentication

Certain kinds of evidence, such as documentary evidence, are subject to the requirement that the offeror provide the trial judge with a certain amount of evidence (which need not be much and it need not be very strong) suggesting that the offered item of tangible evidence (e.g., a document, a gun) is what the offeror claims it is. This
authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proof (truth), proving an Logical assertion, assertion, such as the Digital identity, identity of a computer system user. In c ...
requirement has import primarily in jury trials. If evidence of authenticity is lacking in a bench trial, the trial judge will simply dismiss the evidence as unpersuasive or irrelevant. Other kinds of evidence can be self-authenticating and require nothing to prove that the item is tangible evidence. Examples of self-authenticating evidence includes signed and certified public documents, newspapers, and acknowledged documents.


Witnesses

In systems of proof based on the English common law tradition, almost all evidence must be sponsored by a
witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on another witnesses' behalf. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, ei ...
, who has sworn or solemnly affirmed to tell the truth. The bulk of the law of evidence regulates the types of evidence that may be sought from witnesses and the manner in which the interrogation of witnesses is conducted such as during
direct examination The direct examination or examination-in-chief is one stage in the process of adducing evidence from witnesses in a court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, ad ...
and
cross-examination In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its ...
of witnesses. Other types of evidentiary rules specify the standards of persuasion (e.g., proof beyond a reasonable doubt) that a trier of fact—whether judge or jury—must apply when it assesses evidence. Today all persons are presumed to be qualified to serve as witnesses in trials and other legal proceedings, and all persons are also presumed to have a legal obligation to serve as witnesses if their testimony is sought. However, legal rules sometimes exempt people from the obligation to give evidence and legal rules disqualify people from serving as witnesses under some circumstances.
Privilege Privilege may refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Privilege'' (film), a 1967 film directed by Peter Watkins * ''Privilege'' (Ivor Cutler album), 1983 * ''Privilege'' (Television Personalities album), 1990 * ''Privilege (Abridged) ''Privile ...
rules give the holder of the privilege a right to prevent a witness from giving testimony. These privileges are ordinarily (but not always) designed to protect socially valued types of confidential communications. Some of the privileges that are often recognized in various U.S. jurisdictions are
spousal privilege In the common law, spousal privilege (also called marital privilege or husband-wife privilege) is a term used in the law of evidence to describe two separate privileges that apply to spouses: the spousal communications privilege and the spousal ...
,
attorney–client privilege Attorney–client privilege or lawyer–client privilege is the name given to the common law concept of legal professional privilege in the United States. Attorney-client privilege is " client's right to refuse to disclose and to prevent any ...
, doctor–patient privilege, state secrets privilege, and clergy–penitent privilege. A variety of additional privileges are recognized in different jurisdictions, but the list of recognized privileges varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; for example, some jurisdictions recognize a social worker–client privilege and other jurisdictions do not. Witness competence rules are legal rules that specify circumstances under which persons are ineligible to serve as witnesses. For example, neither a judge nor a juror is competent to testify in a trial in which the judge or the juror serves in that capacity; and in jurisdictions with a dead man statute, a person is deemed not competent to testify as to statements of or transactions with a deceased opposing party. Often, a Government or Parliamentary Act will govern the rules affecting the giving of evidence by witnesses in court. An example is the ''Evidence Act (NSW)'' 1995 which sets out the procedures for witnesses to follow in New South Wales, Australia.


Hearsay

Hearsay is one of the largest and most complex areas of the law of evidence in common-law jurisdictions. The default rule is that hearsay evidence is inadmissible. Hearsay is an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. A party is offering a statement to prove the truth of the matter asserted if the party is trying to prove that the assertion made by the declarant (the maker of the out-of-trial statement) is true. For example, prior to trial Bob says, "Jane went to the store." If the party offering this statement as evidence at trial is trying to prove that Jane actually went to the store, the statement is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. However, at both common law and under evidence codifications such as the
Federal Rules of Evidence First adopted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence codify the evidence law The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of fact A fact is an occurrence in ...
, there are dozens of exemptions from and exceptions to the hearsay rule.


Direct vs. circumstantial evidence

Direct evidence is any evidence that directly proves or disproves a fact. The most well-known type of direct evidence is a testimony from an eyewitness. In eye-witness testimonies the witness states exactly what they experienced, saw, or heard. Direct evidence may also be found in the form of documents. In cases that involve a breach of contract, the contract itself would be considered direct evidence as it can directly prove or disprove that there was breach of contract. Circumstantial evidence, however, is evidence that does not point directly to a fact and requires an inference in order to prove that fact. A common example of the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence involves a person who comes into a building, when it may be raining. If the person declares, "It's raining outside", that statement is direct evidence that it is raining. If the person is carrying a wet umbrella, and he is wearing a wet rain coat, those observations are circumstantial evidence that it is raining outside.


Burdens of proof

Different types of proceedings require parties to meet different Legal burden of proof, burdens of proof, the typical examples being beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing evidence, and preponderance of the evidence. Many jurisdictions have burden-shifting provisions, which require that if one party produces evidence tending to prove a certain point, the burden shifts to the other party to produce superior evidence tending to disprove it. One special category of information in this area includes things of which the court may take judicial notice. This category covers matters that are so well known that the court may deem them proved without the introduction of ''any'' evidence. For example, if a defendant is alleged to have illegally transported goods across a state line by driving them from Boston to Los Angeles, the court may take judicial notice of the fact that it is impossible to drive from Boston to Los Angeles without crossing a number of state lines. In a civil case, where the court takes judicial notice of the fact, that fact is deemed conclusively proved. In a criminal case, however, the defense may always submit evidence to rebut a point for which judicial notice has been taken.


Evidentiary rules stemming from other areas of law

Some rules that affect the admissibility of evidence are nonetheless considered to belong to other areas of law. These include the exclusionary rule of criminal procedure, which prohibits the admission in a criminal trial of evidence gained by unconstitutional means, and the parol evidence rule of contract law, which prohibits the admission of extrinsic evidence of the contents of a written contract.


Evidence as an area of study

In countries that follow the civil law system, evidence is normally studied as a branch of procedural law. All American law schools offer a course in evidence, and most require the subject either as a first year class, or as an upper-level class, or as a prerequisite to later courses. Furthermore, evidence is heavily tested on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) - approximately one-sixth of the questions asked in that test will be in the area of evidence. The MBE predominantly tests evidence under the
Federal Rules of Evidence First adopted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence codify the evidence law The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of fact A fact is an occurrence in ...
, giving little attention to matters on which the law of different states is likely to be inconsistent.


Tampering, falsification, and spoliation

Acts that conceal, corrupt, or destroy evidence can be considered spoliation of evidence and/or tampering with evidence. Spoliation is usually the Civil law (legal system), civil-law/due process, due-process variant, may involve intent (law), intent or negligence (law), negligence, may affect the outcome of a case in which the evidence is material, and may or may not result in criminal law, criminal prosecution. Tampering is usually the criminal law variant in which a person alters, conceals, falsifies, or destroys evidence to interfere with a law-enforcement, governmental, or regulatory investigation, and is usually defined as a crime. Parallel construction is the creation of an untruthful, but plausible, explanation for how the evidence came to be held, which hides its true origins, either to protect sources and methods used, or to avoid the evidence being fruit of the poisonous tree, excluded as unlawfully obtained. Depending on the circumstances, acts to conceal or destroy evidence or misrepresent its true origins might be considered both tampering and spoliation.


By jurisdiction

*Canada Evidence Act *Evidence Act 2006 (New Zealand) *
Federal Rules of Evidence First adopted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence codify the evidence law The law of evidence, also known as the rules of evidence, encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of fact A fact is an occurrence in ...
(United States)


See also

*Adverse inference *Anecdotal evidence *Discovery (law) *Electronic discovery *Evidence under Bayes theorem *Falsified evidence *Forensic animation *Omnibus hearing *Proof (truth) *Silent witness rule *Spectral evidencetestimony about ghosts or apparitions in the Salem witch trials *Strict rules of evidence *Ultimate issue (law)


References


External links

*
U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence Online
{{Authority control Evidence law,