Adverse-Inference Rule Law & Legal Definition


Adverse interest rule refers to a principle that if a party fails to produce a witness who is within its power to produce and who should have been produced, the judge may instruct the jury to infer that the witness's evidence is unfavorable to the party's case. The adverse inference rule applies only when a party has relevant evidence within its control which it fails to produce. The logic supporting the adverse inference rule is that a party fails to produce evidence in its control in order to conceal adverse facts.

Simply stated, the adverse inference rule provides that when a party has relevant evidence within his control which he fails to produce, that failure gives rise to an inference that the evidence is unfavorable to him." [Langford v. Norris, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 14800, 39-40 (8th Cir. Ark. July 20, 2010)]

Adverse inference rule is also known as empty chair doctrine or adverse interest rule.