Evidence is information that is used to support an argument in a legal dispute. This type of information is used by both plaintiffs and defendants. Plaintiffs use it to support their allegations, and defendants use evidence to build a defense. The party that has the strongest supporting information is generally the one who wins a case.
In law, an argument is not generally accepted merely because a person makes it. Courts usually require some type of supporting information that will convince either the judge or jury that the assertions that a party makes are true. This is known as evidence, and it is used to help ensure that judgment is not unfairly granted in favor of one party.
There are several types of evidence, such as that which is real. When information is real, that generally means that it exists in a physical form. For example, a scar could be considered real evidence in an attempted murder case. Documentary proof refers to some type of document that is used to support an argument. This may be seen when there is a contractual dispute and the contract is submitted as evidence.
Demonstrative proof refers to information that supports an argument by way of demonstration. A subway map is a good example if it is used in a case where a defendant is making an argument about the impossibility of traveling from one point to another within a certain span of time. There is also testimony, which is an oral presentation of information.
There are regulations that determine how this type of information is used in court. These are known as the rules of evidence. They may vary from one jurisdiction to another, but many are commonly applied regardless of jurisdiction. For example, most courts require that information that is presented must be relevant, meaning that an opportunity will not be afforded for the presentation of facts that are not related to the matter in question.
The amount of proof that is required to win a legal dispute depends on the case. In the U.S., for example, criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt before individuals can be convicted. This means that from the information presented a reasonable person would conclude that an individual is guilty. In civil cases, however, the standard is lower, requiring only a preponderance of evidence. This means that it must be proved that the claims that a person makes are more likely to be true than untrue.