Balance of probabilities

Understanding ‘Balance of probabilities’: A Brief Explanation

The balance of probabilities is a legal standard of proof that the courts use in civil trials to determine the liability of a defendant.

In Australia, this standard applies in all civil trials.

What is the Balance of probabilities?

The balance of probabilities can be understood like predicting the weather. In determining the liability of a defendant, the evidence that the litigants present in court must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable for the claim. This is similar to a weather forecast indicating a 70% chance of rain. It’s not a definite answer like “it will rain tomorrow” but rather a likely one based on the evidence presented.

However, it is important to note that the standard of “balance of probabilities” is lower than the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt“. We use that standard in criminal trials. This means that the evidence presented in a civil trial does not have to be as strong as the evidence presented in a criminal trial.

This standard of proof is not only used in the legal system, but also in other fields such as insurance, engineering, and medicine. It is used to determine the likelihood of certain events happening.

If you want to take legal action, contact our civil lawyers today for a free consultation. We can assess the likelihood of the success of your claim. 

Click here to read our brief explainer on Understanding ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’: A Brief Explanation

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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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