What is Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof in criminal law refers to the obligation of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the defendant.

Types of Burdens in Criminal Law

There are two kinds of burdens in criminal proceedings:

Legal burden

The legal burden, also known as the persuasive burden, is on the party to prove a fact or issue in a case to the required standard of proof. In criminal cases, the legal burden is generally on the prosecution, meaning that they have the burden of proving all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, including the identity of the defendant, the nature of the act, the necessary knowledge or intent, and the negating of any defenses raised.

Evidential burden.

The evidential burden, on the other hand, is the burden of adducing evidence to raise an issue at trial. It is for the jury or magistrates to determine whether the burden has been discharged.

What is standard of Proof?

The standard of proof in criminal cases is “beyond reasonable doubt,” which means that the prosecution must prove the case against the defendant to a level where the jury is satisfied so that they are sure of the defendant’s guilt. This is often described as the 99% test

Burden of Proof in Civil Cases vs Criminal Cases

In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the claimant, and the standard required is “on a balance of probabilities,” which is often described as the 51% test. This means that the claimant must prove their case against the defendant to a level where it is more likely than not that their version of events is true.

The burden and standard of proof may vary in different jurisdictions, but in general, in criminal cases, it is on the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, while in civil cases, it is on the claimant to prove their case on a balance of probabilities.

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