A test commonly used to determine actual causation. The test simply asks, "but for the existence of X, would Y have occurred?" If the answer is yes, then factor X is an actual cause of result Y.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
One of several tests to determine a defendant's responsibility for the subject of a lawsuit or criminal proceeding. For example, the prosecutor may need to argue that: "But for the defendant's speeding, the car would not have gone out of control, and therefore the defendant is responsible." This is shorthand for whether the action was the "proximate cause" of the damage.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:12 pm