Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Balance of Probabilities Definition:

Burden of proof in civil trials.

Related Terms: Reasonable Doubt, Burden of Proof, Trial

Also known as preponderance of evidence.

The common distinction is made with the burden of truth in a criminal trial, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil trial, one party's case need only be more probable than the other.

The corollary of this is the rare occurrence when the evidence is evenly balanced. In that case, victory goes to the defendant as the burden of proof is with the plaintiff, who initiates legal proceedings.

Lady Liberty balanced, balance of probabilitiesThe threshold a party's evidence must attain in order for that party to be successful at trial.

A court of law commences a trial with no knowledge; hence the blindfold on the iconic statue of Lady Justice.

Lady Justice also has a set of scales in her hands, as in the scales of justice.

Each party presents the evidence to the court and slowly the scales begin to tip. At the end of the trial, the winner is the party which has tipped the scale.

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!