Prima Facie Case Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Prima Facie Case?

refers to the evidence provided by the plaintiff which looks sufficient and proving on the very first look or examination which if not rebutted, can bring the case to the end.

History and Meaning of Prima Facie Case

Prima facie is a Latin term which translates to “at first face” or “at first sight.” In the legal context, prima facie refers to the evidence presented by the plaintiff which on the surface appears to be sufficient to prove their case. A prima facie case is one in which, if there is no rebuttal, the plaintiff would win.

In simpler terms, a prima facie case means that the evidence provided by the plaintiff initially appears to be strong enough to support their claims.

Examples of Prima Facie Case

  1. In a wrongful termination case, the plaintiff might provide evidence that suggests they were terminated due to their age, race, or gender. If this evidence is not rebutted by the defendant, the plaintiff would have a prima facie case for discrimination.

  2. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff might present evidence showing that the defendant was negligent, leading to the plaintiff’s injury. If this evidence is not rebutted, the plaintiff would have a prima facie case for negligence.

  3. In a breach of contract case, the plaintiff may provide evidence of a signed contract and proof that the defendant did not uphold their end of the agreement. If there is no rebuttal of this evidence, the plaintiff would have a prima facie case for breach of contract.

Legal Terms Similar to Prima Facie Case

  • Burden of Proof: the obligation to present evidence in support of one's claim
  • Presumption: an assumption made based on certain facts or circumstances until proven otherwise
  • Inference: a conclusion drawn from the evidence presented.