Types of Evidence - In Law and Investigations



Evidence, in law, any of the material items or assertions of fact that may be submitted to a competent tribunal as a means of ascertaining the truth of any alleged matter of fact under investigation before it. To the end that court decisions are to be based on truth founded on evidence. The ability to gather and analyze different types of evidence is one of the most important competencies for anyone who conducts investigations. There are many types of evidence that help the investigator make decisions during a case, even if they aren’t direct proof of an event or claim. Evidence must be relevant to the investigation. If it's indirectly associated with the case it isn’t relevant evidence. That said, there are many varieties of evidence that, while not admissible in court but will be important in investigator trying to achieve a conclusion during an investigation or other non-criminal investigation.

Types of Evidence -


Analogical Evidence

Anecdotal Evidence

Circumstantial Evidence

Demonstrative Evidence

Digital Evidence

Direct Evidence

Documentary Evidence

Exculpatory Evidence

Forensic Evidence

Hearsay Evidence

Prima Facie Evidence

Statistical Evidence

Testimonial Evidence

Physical evidence

Individual physical evidence

Class physical evidence

Expert witness evidence

Character evidence

Habit evidence

Corroborating evidence

Admissible evidence

Inadmissible evidence

Insufficient evidence


1. Analogical Evidence

Such evidence can be useful to increase credibility by drawing similarities if there is enough information to prove something in a workplace investigation. When information is scarce about something and little is known, analogical evidence is often used in a formal argument to increase the credibility of the proof.


2.Anecdotal Evidence

An anecdote is a brief, revealing account of an individual person or an incident: "a story with a point," such as to communicate an abstract idea about a person, place, or thing through the concrete details of a short narrative or to characterize by delineating a specific quirk or trait. Anecdotal evidence is a story told by individuals. It comes in many forms that can range from product testimonials to word of mouth. It’s often testimony, or a short account, about the truth or effectiveness of a claim. Typically, anecdotal evidence focuses on individual results, is driven by emotion, and presented by individuals who are not subject area experts.


3. Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—such as a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference. Also known as indirect evidence, this type of evidence is used to infer something based on a series of facts separate from the fact the argument is trying to prove.


4. Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence is evidence in the form of a representation of an object. This is, as opposed to, real evidence, testimony, or other forms of evidence used at trial. Demonstrative evidence. n. actual objects, pictures, models and other devices which are supposedly intended to clarify the facts for the judge and jury. Demonstrative evidence refers to physical objects, graphs, pictures, blow-ups of documents, models and other devices which are intended to clarify the facts for the judge and jury: how an accident occurred, actual damages, medical problems, or methods used in committing an alleged crime.


5. Digital Evidence

Digital evidence is defined as information and data of value to an investigation that is stored on, received or transmitted by an electronic device. This evidence can be acquired when electronic devices are seized and secured for examination. Digital Evidence, also known as electronic evidence, is data or information that exists in digital format, that 'can prove' or 'reveal the truth' about a crime.


6. Direct Evidence

Evidence that directly links a person to a crime, without the need of any inference (for example, they were seen committing the crime). “Direct Evidence” is evidence that establishes a particular fact without the need to make an inference in order to connect the evidence to the fact.


7. Documentary Evidence

Documentary evidence is any evidence that is, or can be, introduced at a trial in the form of documents, as distinguished from oral testimony. Documentary Evidence. A type of written proof that is offered at a trial to establish the existence or nonexistence of a fact that is in dispute. Letters, contracts, deeds, licenses, certificates, tickets, or other writings are documentary evidence. Documentary evidence definition: any evidence introduced at a trial in the form of pieces of paper, booklets, etc,


8. Individual physical evidence

Individual Characteristics are properties of physical evidence that can be attributed to a common source with a high degree of certainty. Examples of individual evidence include anything that contains nuclear DNA, tool marks, and fingerprints.


9. Physical evidence

Physical evidence refers to any item that comes from a nonliving origin, while biological evidence always originates from a living being. The most important kinds of physical evidence are fingerprints, tire marks, footprints, fibres, paint, and building materials. Biological evidence includes bloodstains and DNA. Physical evidence is any material object that plays some role in the matter that gave rise to the litigation, introduced as evidence in a judicial proceeding to prove a fact in issue based on the object's physical characteristics


10. Testimonial Evidence

Testimonial Evidence is a person's testimony offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Especially, evidence elicited from a witness. This is also termed communicative evidence. Testimonial Evidence is a person's testimony offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Especially, evidence elicited from a witness. This is also termed communicative evidence. The other type of evidence is testimonial evidence. Every case needs some form of testimonial evidence. This type of evidence is simply what someone tells a judge or jury while they are testifying. Sometimes this is eyewitness testimony, sometimes it statements that the defendant has made to the witness. Almost anything a witness has personal knowledge of and is relevant can be testified to. There are exceptions to what someone may be allowed to testify about. These exceptions are governed by the rules of evidence.


11. Statistical Evidence

Statistical Evidence is the rational demonstration of the degree of certainty for a proposition, hypothesis or theory that is used to convince others subsequent to a statistical test of the supporting evidence and the types of inferences that can be drawn from the test scores. An important role of statistical analysis in science is for interpreting and communicating statistical evidente per se - showing “what the data say.


12.Prima Facie Evidence

Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning on its first encounter or at first sight. The literal translation would be "at first face" or "at first appearance", from the feminine forms of primus and facies, both in the ablative case. Evidence that (1) establishes a fact but is not a conclusive evidence of its existence, or (2) supports a judgment until contradictory evidence is produced in its rebuttal. Also called presumptive evidence. See also prima facie case.


13. Hearsay Evidence

According to the Indian Evidence Act, hearsay evidence is no evidence. Hearsay evidence is not direct evidence. The word hearsay itself gives a clue that something which is not directly heard. Hearsay evidence means any information which a person gathers or collects from a person who has first-hand knowledge of that fact or information. Therefore, we can conclude that it is second-hand information. The general rule is that hearsay evidence is not admissible in the court of law. Section 60 of the Evidence Act states that oral evidence must be direct. The person must directly hear, see, or sense the fact.


14. Forensic Evidence

Forensic Evidence is scientific evidence, such as DNA, trace evidence, fingerprints or ballistics reports, and can provide proof to establish a person’s guilt or innocence. Forensic evidence is generally considered to be strong and reliable evidence and alongside helping to convict criminals, its role in exonerating the innocent has been well documented. The term “forensic” means “for the courts”. Its use in workplace investigations is generally limited to serious cases that may end up in court. Forensic evidence is evidence obtained by scientific methods such as ballistics, blood test, and DNA test and used in court. Forensic evidence often helps to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects.


15. Exculpatory Evidence

Exculpatory evidence includes any information, which bears on the credibility of a witness who will testify in the prosecution's case. Evidence tending to exonerate a defendant or helps establish their innocence.


17. Insufficient evidence

In court cases, it is the obligation of the prosecutorial team to meet the burden of proof—or the responsibility to prove their allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence that fails to meet the burden of proof is considered insufficient evidence. In such cases, a judge may even dismiss a case before the defense presents their side. Evidence which fails to meet the burden of proof. In a trial, if the prosecution finishes presenting their case and the judge finds they have not met their burden of proof, the judge may dismiss the case (even before the defense presents their side) for insufficient evidence.


18. Inadmissible evidence

Inadmissible evidence is that evidence which may not be received by the judge or jury in a case in order to decide the merits of a controversy. Conversely, evidence that the judge determines cannot be presented to the jury is considered inadmissible evidence. Reasons for deeming evidence to be inadmissible can include the following: It was improperly obtained, it is prejudicial, it is not relevant to the case or it is hearsay. Hearsay is generally inadmissible, since the judge or jury is unable to form an opinion regarding whether the person making the out-of-court statement is reliable.


19. Admissible evidence

Basically, if evidence is to be admitted at court, it must be relevant, material, and competent. Admissibility is always decided by the judge and all relevant evidence is potentially admissible, subject to common law and statutory rules on exclusion. Generally speaking, all evidence that is able to be formally presented in front of a judge or jury has been deemed admissible evidence. Prior to the trial, it is the duty of the judge to determine whether or not particular evidence may be included.


20. Corroborating evidence

Corroborating evidence is a collection of facts and information that backs up someone's story. In a court of law. Evidence that is used to strengthen, add to, authenticate or confirm already-existing evidence is considered corroborating evidence


21. Habit evidence

Habit evidence as used in Federal Rules of Evidence refers to the evidence used to prove that a person acted in a particular way on a particular occasion based on that person's tendency to reflexively respond to a particular circumstance in a particular way. Habit evidence is admissible for the purpose of proving how someone would act or react in a particular situation at issue.


22. Character evidence

Character evidence is a term used in the law of evidence to describe any testimony or document submitted for the purpose of proving that a person acted in a particular way on a particular occasion based on the character or disposition of that person. The general rule is that character evidence is inadmissible. Since it is very difficult to assess the character of the person. character evidence is evidence that relates to whether an accused is of good or bad character.


23. Expert witness evidence

The role of an expert witness is to provide relevant and impartial evidence in their area of expertise. Most courts bar witnesses from testifying based on their personal opinions—this is why we have expert witness evidence. Expert witnesses are permitted to testify about matters within their field of expertise. This can include a forensic analyst testifying about the results of a DNA test, a doctor testifying about the analysis of a set of X-rays or a fingerprint analyst testifying about findings related to prints lifted from a crime scene or weapon.


24. Class physical evidence

Physical evidence with class characteristics has qualities that can be associated with a group. Such evidence is typically used to help narrow down a pool of suspects.













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