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Clear and Convincing Evidence

Certain civil suits require a stronger burden of proof, in terms of percentage of weight of the presented evidence. A burden to show “clear and con-vincing evidence” refers to more than a mere preponderance but something just short of conclusive (which would be more tantamount to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden used in criminal cases). However, in reality, “clear and convincing” burden of proof generally requires proof which leaves no reasonable doubt concerning the truth of the matters at issue.

This higher burden is generally employed when the alleged offense has special elements to establish, such as in a claim for fraud, for a lost will of inheritance, or when family members wish to withdraw life support from a loved one. In these and other cases, the stakes at risk are high and the defending party serves to lose a substantial benefit, property, (or especially) personal or fundamental liberty such as those protected under the First Amendment.

Inside Clear and Convincing Evidence