The Burden of Proof


Civil Law

The claimant must prove their claim on a balance of probabilities. The burden of producing evidence is initially carried by the claimant.

Once the claimant has satisfied the burden, and made out a prima facie case, the burden usually shifts to the defendant. The defendant must then produce evidence either to support a defence or to rebut the evidence produced by claimant.

The burden of producing evidence may shift back and forth several times.


Criminal Law

Defendants in a criminal trial are considered innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution in a criminal trial must prove that the defendant is guilty "beyond reasonable doubt".

The defendant only carries the burden of producing trial evidence if he or she wishes to assert an affirmative defence.