Fact Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Fact?

n. Something, such as an actual thing or happening, that has to be proven at a trial through presenting evidence that the finder of fact evaluates (a jury in a jury trial, or by the judge if he/she sits without a jury).

History and Meaning of Fact

Fact is a term used in the legal system to describe something that is proven or demonstrated to be true through evidence presented at a trial. It is a crucial part of the legal process, as facts are used to determine the outcome of a case.

The concept of fact has been used in the legal system for centuries, as it is essential for ensuring that justice is served. The burden of proving facts falls on the parties involved in a case, and it is up to the finder of fact, whether that be a judge or a jury, to evaluate the evidence presented and determine what is true.

Examples of Fact

  1. In a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. This requires presenting evidence that demonstrates the facts of the case, such as eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, and expert testimony.

  2. In a civil trial, the burden of proof is lower, but the facts still play a critical role in determining the outcome of the case. For example, in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's negligence caused their injury through the presentation of factual evidence.

  3. When determining child custody in a divorce case, the finder of fact considers various facts such as the child's relationship with each parent, their living situation, and their emotional and physical needs.

Legal Terms Similar to Fact

  1. Evidence - Information or materials presented at trial to prove or disprove a fact.

  2. Burden of Proof - The obligation to prove a fact or assertion, usually falling on the party making the claim or bringing the charges in a case.

  3. Finder of Fact - The judge or jury responsible for determining the truth of the facts presented at trial.