Legal English – Admissible Evidence

Admissible evidence (Pronunciation: Ad-MIHSS-ih-bull EH-vih-dens; Origin: English) is any potentially relevant evidence (e.g., testimony, documents, physical objects, etc.) related to an issue that a judge or jury would review in a legal proceeding.

Here are some example sentences that use the phrase:

  • “My ruling on this issue is final. You can appeal it now if you like, but if you have no more admissible evidence on this element, your case can’t proceed any further.”
  • “Mr. Chairman, we understand what you heard Mr. Whitman say during the negotiations, but it seems to be hearsay. Until we have some form of admissible evidence that demonstrates the same facts, our complaint is going to be quite weak.”
  • “While your dream is quite interesting, it has no real bearing on these proceedings and can’t be considered admissible evidence under any law that I’m familiar with.”

Evidentiary admissibility is generally set forth in the rules of procedure of each court (e.g., the Federal Rules of Evidence, or Article 45 of the New York Code). Common forms of admissible evidence are a witness’ sworn testimony regarding events they personally observed, ordinary business records and expert opinions. In general, evidence must be relevant, cannot be unfairly prejudicial and must have indicia, or signs, of reliability.

Applying these general rules, however, is another matter.

The rules of evidence in a particular jurisdiction can be difficult to grasp, and a great deal of argument — especially in the pretrial phase of litigation — can occur regarding the admissibility of evidence.

In addition, during litigation, many of the objections raised by attorneys relate to evidence. Each cause of action is usually broken into “elements,” and it must generally be proven by submission of evidence. These submissions of evidence are the fundamental building blocks of any legal case.