Trier Of Fact Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Trier Of Fact, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Trier Of Fact?
It refers to a judge or jury who decides the facts and law of the court case. In jury trial, the jury decides finds fact while the judge makes law that would be applicable. In cases where there is no jury ie bench trial, the judge takes charge of facts and law.
History and Meaning of Trier Of Fact
The term "trier of fact" refers to the entity responsible for determining the relevant facts in a legal case. In a trial setting, it is typically either a judge or a jury. The trier of fact considers the evidence and testimony presented in the case and then makes a determination, based on that information, as to what actually occurred.
The concept of the trier of fact has been a central element of the common law legal system for centuries, with roots that can be traced back to medieval England. At that time, disputes were often resolved by communal institutions known as tithings, which were responsible for investigating and determining the facts of a dispute. Over time, this responsibility was assumed by courts and judges, and eventually by jurors in the modern jury trial.
Examples of Trier Of Fact
- During a criminal trial, the jury serves as the trier of fact, listening to witness testimony and reviewing physical evidence in order to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
- In a civil lawsuit, the judge serves as the trier of fact if there is no jury. The judge will review the pleadings and evidence presented and make a decision based on the law.
- In an administrative hearing, an administrative judge can be the trier of fact if there is no jury. The administrative judge hears testimony, reviews evidence, and decides what determination would be appropriate based on the law.
- In a workers' compensation case, a hearing officer serves as the trier of fact. They would hear testimony and review medical evidence to determine if there is any liability and if the claimant is entitled to compensation.
- In a bench trial, a judge serves as both the trier of fact and of law. They will make determinations on both the facts of the case and the law.
Legal Terms Similar to Trier Of Fact
- Standard of proof: refers to the degree to which the evidence must persuade the trier of fact in order to support a verdict or judgment.
- Jury instructions: set of instructions given to the jury by the judge about the law applicable to the case, and about how to weigh the evidence and make a decision based on that law.
- Bench trial: a trial without a jury in which the judge serves as both the trier of fact and of law.