Documentary evidence is a broad term that includes almost anything on paper. For example, GA Code § 17-5-32 (2014) contains an extensive list of what the state considers documentay 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 dupilcates to be admissible pursuant to FRE 1003.
[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]