Original-Document Rule Law and Legal Definition

Original document rule is a principle of evidence law that, to prove the contents of a writing or a recording or photograph, a party must produce the original writing or a mechanical, electronic, or other familiar duplicate, such as a photocopy. Only if the original is unavailable, secondary evidence like the testimony of the drafter or a person who read the document can be admitted. This rule is codified at USCS Fed Rules Evid R 1002 which reads as follows: “To prove the content of a writing, recording, or photograph, the original writing, recording, or photograph is required, except as otherwise provided in these rules or by Act of Congress.”