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Allegation & Evidence


An allegation is a statement or claim of a fact by a party in a pleading, which the party claims to be able to prove. Allegations remain assertions without proof, until they can be proved.

Generally in a civil complaint a plaintiff alleges facts sufficient to establish all the elements of the claim and thus states a cause of action. The plaintiff must then carry the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion in order to succeed in the lawsuit.

A defendant can allege affirmative defenses in its answer to the complaint.   See Wikipedia - Affirmative Defense

Other allegations are required in a pleading to establish the correct jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction.  i.e. the court cannot take action over that which it has no control.

Disjunctive allegations are allegations in a pleading joined together by an "or". In a complaint, disjunctive allegations are usually per se defective because such a pleading does not put the party on notice of which allegations they must defend.

On the other hand, defendants often plead in the alternative by listing seemingly inconsistent defenses. For example, "I did not do the crime", "if I did, I didn't know", or "even if I did know, I've got a good excuse". Such a pleading may be considered disjunctive and may be permissible.


Evidence is anything that serves towards showing any statement about reality to be true or false.
Inference is the process by which if certain statements are true or false, certain other statements may be determined to be true or false.

Direct or Indirect Evidence

Direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly without the need for inference. i.e. when an event is seen.
Indirect (or circumstantial) evidence is where the available pieces of evidence must be brought together sufficient to infer a fact.

In law the term "sufficient" may mean "beyond reasonable doubt" or "on the balance of probabilities" dependent on the circumstances of the case. An explanation involving circumstantial evidence becomes more valid as proof of a fact when the alternative explanations have been ruled out.

In science the term "sufficient" may mean when things are observed to be a particular way many times without exeption. [TODO a better description.]

Limit of Evidence

When a statement is made it is good practice to provide all evidence supporting or refuting the statement. However human nature is such that individuals will not provide evidence that it is not in their interest to provide, or if they have already made up their mind about a statement they provide and seek out only evidence that supports their choice and and worse they will ignore contrary evidence.
In a court the burden of proof rests with the prosecution but the prosecution also has a duty to disclose evidence that supports of the innocents of the accused. The accused, however has the right not to provide evidence in support of his/her own guilt.

Types of Evidence

Some types of evidence are scientific evidence, signature evidence  i.e. there is a pattern to the execution of a crime, secondary evidence when primary evidence is not available. i.e. testimony to a lost document.

Consideration of Evidence

In considering evidence one should consider its admissibility, weight, sufficiency, completeness and relevance in determining the truth of the original statement. Also credibility of sources is a factor.

Subduing Evidence

Evidence can be subdued by discrediting and influencing the sources of genuine evidence, and promoting fabricated and immaterial evidence to waist the time of investigators.

Forms of Evidence

Evidence is normally provided as oral, documentary or real;
Oral - is the testimony of witnesses,
Documentary - the production of documents, and
Real - the production of real physical objects for the inspection of the court.

(C)2010 Tom de Havas and Wikipedia. The information under this section is my own and wikipedia work, therefore this work is under the normal wikipedia licence terms.