right to begin

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The right of a party at trial to present his case to the court first (to open the case) by making the opening speech and presenting his evidence. The right to begin generally belongs to the party who carries the persuasive burden of proof. In criminal cases the prosecution will have the right to begin. In civil cases the claimant generally begins, but the defendant may do so where he has the burden of proving the issues to be decided at trial.

Subjects: Law.

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