Credibility Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Credibility, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Credibility?

It refers to the truthfulness, reliability of a testimony in a trial.Credibilty is decided by the reputation of the witness and also supporting evidences and it is basically the mind that decides whether the party or the witness giving tetstimony is honest, sincere and reliable.

History and Meaning of Credibility

The term "credibility" has its roots in the Latin word "credere," which means to believe or to trust. In legal terms, credibility refers to the ability of a witness to be believed or trusted by the court. A witness's credibility is based on factors such as their reputation for honesty and accuracy, their consistency in their statements, and whether their testimony is supported by other evidence in the case.

Credibility is an essential element of the legal system, as witnesses are often the only source of information about what happened in a particular case. Judges and juries must rely heavily on the credibility of witnesses to make informed decisions about guilt or innocence, liability or damages, and other legal determinations.

Examples of Credibility

  1. A witness takes the stand and testifies that they saw the defendant commit the crime. The prosecution argues that the witness has a reputation for honesty and their testimony is supported by other evidence in the case, which strengthens their credibility.

  2. A defendant testifies in their own defense, but their testimony contradicts earlier statements they made to the police. The defense argues that the defendant's inconsistencies undermine their credibility.

  3. A party in a civil case submits a document that appears to be a key piece of evidence. However, the other party challenges the credibility of the document by arguing that it has been doctored or was created after the fact.

Legal Terms Similar to Credibility

  1. Admissibility - this refers to whether evidence is allowed to be presented in court or not, and is often closely tied to the credibility of the source of the evidence.

  2. Corroboration - this term refers to evidence that supports or confirms other evidence in a case, and can be used to strengthen the credibility of a witness or piece of testimony.

  3. Impeachment - in legal contexts, impeachment refers to the process of challenging a witness's credibility or character in order to undermine their testimony.