Last modified on 5 September 2016, at 23:27

Preponderance of the evidence

Preponderance of the evidence also called on the balance of probabilites means greater weight of the evidence, the common burden of proof in civil cases. In simple English it means 'more likely than not'.

Although it is generally the standard only in civil cases, there are occasions in criminal law, particularly in strict liability offences, where it is incumbent on the defendant to prove on this standard that they lacked the requisite mens rea. Some jurisdictions also hold that in common law defences such as 'claim of right' or provocation there is a duty on the defence to show this on the preponderance of the evidence (more common is that the defence has an evidential burden which, once satisfied, the prosecution needs to prove the element beyond a reasonable doubt).

See also

Beyond a reasonable doubt