evidence [English]

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ 1. IP2 · All the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved. – 2. Information, in any form, used to establish or disprove the validity of an assertion or fact.

General Notes

In the United States, not all evidence is admissible at trial.

Other Definitions

  • Black's 9th 2009 (†382 p. 635): 1. Something (including testimony, documents and tangible objects) that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. – 3. The collective mass of things, esp. testimony and exhibits, presented before a tribunal in a given dispute – 4. The body of law regulating the admissibility of what is offered as proof into the record of a legal proceeding.
  • Black's 9th 2009 (†382 s.v. fact in evidence, p. 669): A fact that a tribunal considers in reaching a conclusion; a fact that has been admitted into evidence in a trial or hearing.
  • OED Concise 10th (†440 s.v. "evidence"): Information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. – Law Information used to establish facts in a legal investigation or admissible as testimony in a law court.


  • Duranti 1997 (†758 p. 214): In jurisprudence, and consequently in evidence laws, evidence is not an entity, but a relationship. It is the relationship shown to the judge of a fact between the fact to be proven and the fact that proves it. (†1913)
  • Garner 2003 (†878 s.v. "evidence" (p. 322)): Testimony is a species of evidence; it refers only to evidence received through the medium of witnesses. Evidence, the broader term, includes all means by which a fact in issue is established or disproved; thus evidence may include documents and tangible objects. . . . Strictly speaking, [evidence and proof ] are not synonymous. Unlike evidence, the word proof applies to the effect of evidence, not to the way in which truth is established. (†2637)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. "evidence"): Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion.[1] This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence. ¶ In law, rules of evidence govern the types of evidence that are admissible in a legal proceeding. Types of legal evidence include testimony, documentary evidence, and physical evidence. The parts of a legal case which are not in controversy are known, in general, as the "facts of the case." Beyond any facts that are undisputed, a judge or jury is usually tasked with being a trier of fact for the other issues of a case. Evidence and rules are used to decide questions of fact that are disputed, some of which may be determined by the legal burden of proof relevant to the case. Evidence in certain cases (e.g. capital crimes) must be more compelling than in other situations (e.g. minor civil disputes), which drastically affects the quality and quantity of evidence necessary to decide a case. ¶ Scientific evidence consists of observations and experimental results that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the scientific method. (†2636)