What are the Standards of Proof in Courts of Law?

L. Jonathan Cohen

in The Probable and The Provable

Published in print December 1977 | ISBN: 9780198244127
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680748 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

What are the Standards of Proof in Courts of Law?

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This chapter describes the standard of proof in courts of law. There are two main standards for proof of fact in English and American courts. The plaintiff in a civil case must prove on the balance of probabilities, and the prosecutor in a criminal case must prove his conclusion at a level of probability that puts it beyond reasonable doubt. It also addresses the theories about judicial probability. Some philosophers have claimed that it does, some that if such a probability were measurable it would do so, and some that it is not even in principle a mathematical probability. The third of these views is the most defensible, but it has never been properly argued or substantiated hitherto.

Keywords: standard of proof; courts of law; English courts; American courts; mathematical probability; criminal case; judicial probability

Chapter.  3539 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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