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Concentrate Questions and Answers EvidenceLaw Q&A Revision and Study Guide

Concentrate Questions and Answers Evidence: Law Q&A Revision and Study Guide (2nd edn)

Maureen Spencer and John Spencer
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date: 01 December 2023

p. 72. Burden and standard of proof: Presumptionslocked

p. 72. Burden and standard of proof: Presumptionslocked

  • Maureen SpencerMaureen SpencerPrincipal Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University
  •  and John SpencerJohn SpencerBarrister and Visiting Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University


The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and illustrative diagrams and flow charts. This chapter discusses the allocation of the burden of proof in civil and criminal trials, depending on who should bear the risk. In criminal trials the ‘presumption of innocence’ means that the burden is on the prosecution, unless reversed by express or implied statutory provision. The law of evidence safeguards what in some jurisdictions is a civil right backed by the constitution. It is important to understand the difference between the legal and evidential burden and the occasions where they are separately allocated. Tricky areas are where there is a divorce of the legal and evidential burden, primarily in situations where the prosecution cannot expect to put up evidence to anticipate every specific defence the accused may present.

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