burden of proof

noun phrase

: the duty of proving a disputed assertion or charge

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Unlike a criminal trial, the board makes its judgments based on a preponderance of evidence — a lower burden of proof than required to convict a defendant. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, 2 May 2020 Whereas Hogsett's proposal placed the burden of proof on landlords, the Senate bill would place that burden on a tenant. Amelia Pak-harvey, Indianapolis Star, 24 Feb. 2020 America and many European countries, notes Mr Collins, put the burden of proof on plaintiffs, who must prove that allegations made about them are false. The Economist, 12 Dec. 2019 In a courtroom, there are rules of evidence, a high burden of proof and presumptions of innocence that favor the accused. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2020 Given Nwora’s statistical history, the burden of proof is that much bigger. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, 28 Feb. 2020 The music industry has seen a number of copyright infringement cases over the years, and the controversial inverse ratio rule has established a lower burden of proof for copyright infringement. Allen Kim, CNN, 10 Mar. 2020 That message effectively shifts to the defendant employers the burden of proof … and impermissibly requires [the ATF] to prove that its decision makers were not motivated by discriminatory animus. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, 28 Sep. 2019 Each legal forum involved very different burdens of proof (i.e., more likely than not versus beyond a reasonable doubt), occurred at different points in time and relied on different evidence, testimony, procedural rules and adjudicators. Michael Mccann, SI.com, 7 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burden of proof.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1705, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of burden of proof was in 1705

Dictionary Entries Near burden of proof

Cite this Entry

“Burden of proof.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burden%20of%20proof. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Legal Definition

burden of proof

: the responsibility of producing sufficient evidence in support of a fact or issue and favorably persuading the trier of fact (as a judge or jury) regarding that fact or issue
the burden of proof is sometimes upon the defendant to show his incompetencyW. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.
compare standard of proof

Note: The legal concept of the burden of proof encompasses both the burdens of production and persuasion. Burden of proof is often used to refer to one or the other. Burden of proof and burden of persuasion are also sometimes used to refer to the standard of proof.

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