Shifting The Burden Of Proof Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Shifting The Burden Of Proof?

(n) Shifting of burden of proof is the process by which the opposite party become liable to support its factual stand. When the plaintiff proves his facts then it become responsibility of the defendant to prove his stance or counter he made.

History and Meaning of Shifting The Burden Of Proof

Shifting the burden of proof refers to the legal concept where the responsibility to prove a particular fact or issue is shifted between two parties in a legal dispute. Normally, the party who makes a claim or sues another person is responsible for putting forward a certain amount of initial evidence to support their legal dispute. Once this is done, the burden can shift to the other party to offer evidence that contradicts or disproves the initial claim in order to win the dispute. The shift of the burden of proof relates to evidentiary problems in civil and criminal litigation as well as various regulatory disputes.

Examples of Shifting The Burden of Proof

  1. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the initial burden of proving the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt; while in civil cases, the plaintiff has the initial burden of proving the defendant is liable for their claimed damages.
  2. Another example of shifting the burden of proof occurs when an employee files a case against an employer alleging wrongful discharge or discrimination based on their race, gender, religion, among others. The employee has the initial burden of proof to provide specific evidence indicating that their firing was illegal.
  3. In a product liability lawsuit, the injured person alleges that the product was defective or had some shortcomings that make it unsafe. Therefore, to prevail in the case, the injured person would have to show that the product was manufactured incorrectly or operated in a way that did not conform to industry standards. Once the injured person has presented this evidence, the burden shifts to the manufacturer to show that the product in question was safe and did not have any defects that resulted from the product's design or manufacture.

Legal Terms Similar to Shifting The Burden of Proof

  1. Burden of production: The burden to produce admissible evidence presented at trial.
  2. Presumption of innocence: The legal principle that requires the government to prove its case against an accused individual beyond a reasonable doubt.
  3. Reasonable doubt: The standard of proof used in criminal trials, which requires that the prosecution must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.