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The Probable and The Provable$
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L. Jonathan Cohen

Print publication date: 1977

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244127

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244127.001.0001

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What are the Standards of Proof in Courts of Law?

What are the Standards of Proof in Courts of Law?

Chapter:
4 What are the Standards of Proof in Courts of Law?
Source:
The Probable and The Provable
Author(s):

L. Jonathan Cohen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244127.003.0005

This chapter describes the standard of proof in courts of law. There are two main standards for proof of fact in English and American courts. The plaintiff in a civil case must prove on the balance of probabilities, and the prosecutor in a criminal case must prove his conclusion at a level of probability that puts it beyond reasonable doubt. It also addresses the theories about judicial probability. Some philosophers have claimed that it does, some that if such a probability were measurable it would do so, and some that it is not even in principle a mathematical probability. The third of these views is the most defensible, but it has never been properly argued or substantiated hitherto.

Keywords:   standard of proof, courts of law, English courts, American courts, mathematical probability, criminal case, judicial probability

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