Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Probative Definition:

Tending to prove.

Related Terms: Evidence

The 1969 American Ballentine's Law Dictionary:

"Probative: having a tendency to prove or establish."

In Stranger, Justice Stevenson of the Alberta Court of Appeal wrote:

"[T]he term probative ... mean(s) raising a likelihood, affording some measure of proof; while others may take it as meaning only consistency, rather than proof."

In Wilson v Haugh, Justice Moremen of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky wrote:

"[P]robative facts ... are merely matters of evidence required to prove the ultimate facts."

In Bunka, Justice Walker of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench wrote of probative evidence as follows, at ¶12:

"Probative evidence? It seems to me that probative evidence in present context means nothing more than reasonably tending to prove or reasonably contributing toward proof. One jurist has defined probative evidence as (evidence) carrying the quality of proof and having fitness to induce conviction of truth, consisting of fact and reason co-operating as co-ordinate factors. Other case authorities, speaking in this context, tend in the same direction, with the use of words like a certain amount of proof, something more than mere possession, point in some way, and the like. There must be a relationship — some reasonable relationship."


  • Ballentine, James, Ballentine's Law Dictionary (Rochester: Lawyers Co-op. Publishing Co., 1969), page 999.
  • Bunka v R., 12 C.C.C. (3d) 437 (1984)
  • R. v Stranger, 7 C.C.C. (3d) 337 (1983)
  • Wilson v. Haughton, 266 SW 2d 115 (1954)

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