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Competence is the capacity or minimal ability to do something; the mental and physical ability to carry out a given task. A few examples are: competence to stand trial, competence to be executed, competence to hold public office, and competence to practice law. While context determines the specific inquiry, the foundational requirement, common to all measures of competence, is a basic awareness of one’s identity, condition, surroundings, and the identity of others. See also: competent.

Competence may also be used to describe the authenticity or admissibility of evidence (competent evidence). 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]