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To successfully establish a disputed claim as true, most likely true, or untrue by evidence or logic.

In a legal proceeding, the party acting as plaintiff/prosecutor bears the burden of proving their claim to be true. Defendants do not have to prove their innocence but must plant doubt in the judge’s or jury’s mind in order to diminish their confidence in the opposing party’s case.

The burden of proof–the extent to which a prosecuting party must prove their assertion to be true–depends on the category of law under which the claim falls: civil or criminal.

Related terms:

[Last updated in September of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]