Burden of Proof


Generally, describes the standard that a party seeking to prove a fact in court must satisfy to have that fact legally established.  There are different standards in different circumstances. For example, in criminal cases, the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt is on the prosecution, and they must establish that fact beyond a reasonable doubt.  In civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence. A "preponderance of the evidence" and "beyond a reasonable doubt" are different standards, requiring different amounts of proof.

The burden of proof is often said to consist of two distinct but related concepts: the burden of production, and the burden of persuasion.


Depending on the jurisdiction and type of action, the legal standard to satisfy the burden of proof in U.S. litigation may include, but is not limited to:

Last updated in June of 2017 by Stephanie Jurkowski.