Inference Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Inference?

It refers to a judgement or a logical conclusion of a sound man with reasonable sense or knowledge to derive a truth in the one evidence out of another fact or evidence which has already been proven to be true.

History and Meaning of Inference

Inference is the act of reaching a conclusion based on evidence or reasoning. It is a fundamental process of human reasoning, by which we make educated guesses or assumptions about things we cannot know for sure. The concept of inference has been a subject of study for philosophers and logicians since ancient times. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, for example, wrote extensively on the subject of inference in his work on logic.

In legal contexts, inference refers to the process by which judges or juries reach a decision based on the evidence presented in a case. Inferential reasoning involves drawing conclusions that are not explicitly stated in the evidence, but are based on logical deductions from the facts.

Examples of Inference

  1. In a murder trial, the prosecution might present evidence that the defendant had motive to kill the victim, such as a history of conflict between them. The jury could then infer that the defendant had a reason to commit the crime.

  2. A company may notice a pattern of increased sales on days when the weather is sunny. From this observation, the company could infer that sunny weather has a positive effect on sales.

  3. A doctor may infer from a patient's symptoms and medical history that they are suffering from a particular disease, even if they have not yet conducted any formal tests.

Legal Terms Similar to Inference

  1. Presumption - an assumption made by a court or jury that a certain fact is true based on other proven facts.

  2. Deduction - a logical process of drawing a conclusion from general statements to particular statements.

  3. Conclusion of law - a determination made by a judge or court as to the legal basis for a decision.