Balance of Probabilities

The balance of probabilities, also known as preponderance of the evidence in US law, is a standard of proof used in civil cases, where the court must decide which party is more likely to be telling the truth. This standard requires that the evidence presented by one party is more probable than the evidence presented by the opposing party. In other words, if the court finds that one party's case is more likely than the other party's case, then the court will find in favour of that party.

The balance of probabilities is a lower standard of proof than the beyond reasonable doubt standard used in criminal cases. In a civil case, the consequences of a verdict are typically limited to financial compensation or an order to perform or refrain from a particular action, rather than loss of liberty or imprisonment.

In practice, the balance of probabilities standard means that the judge will evaluate the evidence presented by each party and decide which version of events is more probable. The judge will weigh the evidence and consider factors such as the reliability of witnesses, the consistency of the evidence, and the likelihood of other explanations for the events in question.

For example, in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant's actions caused the plaintiff's injuries. The plaintiff may present medical records, witness testimony, and other evidence to support their case. The defendant may present evidence to refute the plaintiff's claims, such as evidence of pre-existing injuries or an alternate explanation for the plaintiff's injuries. The judge will weigh the evidence presented by both parties and decide which version of events is more probable.

In conclusion, the balance of probabilities is a standard of proof used in civil cases, where the court must decide which party's version of events is more likely to be true. This standard requires that the evidence presented by one party is more probable than the evidence presented by the opposing party. It is a lower standard of proof than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in criminal cases, reflecting the different consequences of a verdict in civil and criminal cases.
Back to blog
UOL Case Bank

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.