Documentary evidence is a broad term in evidence law that can include almost any document introduced in trial that is on paper. For example, GA Code § 17-5-32 contains an extensive list of what the state considers documentary evidence: “the term ‘documentary evidence’ includes but is not limited to writings, documents, blueprints, drawings, photographs, computer printouts, microfilms, X-rays, files, diagrams, ledgers, books, tapes, audio and video recordings, and papers of any type or description.”
In order for documentary evidence to be admitted at trial it must be relevant pursuant to FRE 402 and 403. Additionally, documentary evidence must be authenticated pursuant to FRE 901 or 902. At common law, parties were restricted by the original document rule when introducing documentary evidence; however the FRE has loosened this requirement through the best evidence rule and allowing for duplicates to be admissible pursuant to FRE 1003.
See e.g., Phillips v. Taco Bell Corp., 60 N.Y.S.3d 67, 152 A.D.3d 806, 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 5862 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017); Sandles v. Magna Legal Services, LLC Civil Court, City of New York N.Y.S.3d 843 (2018).
[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]