Evidence Law and Legal Definition

Evidence in a broad sense refers to something that furnishes proof of a matter. In the legal context, it is something legally submitted in court or other decision-making body to ascertain the truth of a matter. Evidence may take various forms, such as oral testimony, videotape, documents, and other forms.Rules of evidence are the rules by which a court determines what evidence is admissible at trial. At the federal level, federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, while state courts generally have their own rules of evidence, which vary by state and are created by the state legislatures. In deciding what evidence is admissible, the court will weigh the tendency of the evidence to prove or disprove a fact or issue in dispute against the potential prejudicial nature of the evidence to unfairly influence the trier (i.e., jury) of the case.

Rules of evidence also allocate among the parties the burden of producing evidence and the burden of persuading the court. Evidence comes in many forms- written, electronically recorded, oral testimony, etc. Improper admission of evidence may be cause for bringing a later appeal. However, to overturn the lower court ruling, it must generally be shown that the outcome of the case was influenced by such improper evidence.