Definition of clear and convincing evidence
clear and convincing evidence (uncountable)
- (law) A legal standard for deciding the outcome of a dispute, based on evidence that clearly indicates that a claim is more likely to be true than not, without needing to eliminate all doubt.
Clear and convincing evidence is the higher level of burden of persuasion sometimes employed in both civil and criminal procedure in the United States. For example, a prisoner seeking habeas corpus relief from capital punishment must prove his factual innocence by clear and convincing evidence.
To prove something by "clear and convincing evidence", the party with the burden of proof must convince the trier of fact that it is substantially more likely than not that the thing is in fact true. This is a lesser requirement than "proof beyond a reasonable doubt", which requires that the trier of fact be close to certain of the truth of the matter asserted, but a stricter requirement than proof by "preponderance of the evidence," which merely requires that the matter asserted seem more likely true than not.
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