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evidence

Introduction

evidence, in law, material submitted to a judge or a judicial body to resolve disputed questions of fact. The rules discussed in this article were developed in England for use in jury trials. Today, they are generally observed in all countries having the common law, although they have been extensively modified by statute in some jurisdictions. The first juries were not neutral triers of fact; rather they were convened because of their immediate knowledge of the dispute before the court. Later, the practice developed of having witnesses testify before an impartial jury. The groundwork of the rules of evidence was laid between 1500 and 1700.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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