Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=436701
 


 



The Juridical Management of Factual Uncertainty


Ronald J. Allen


Northwestern University Law School

Craig R. Callen


Michigan State University-DCL College of Law


International Journal of Evidence & Proof, Vol. 7, p. 1, 2003

Abstract:     
Civil presumption doctrine in the United States is unnecessarily complex and essentially unnecessary. Evidence law affords a number of evidentiary devices for managing uncertainty, which civil presumptions, at best, merely replicate, but in a different vocabulary with the attendant unnecessary complexity. We survey the critical similarities of evidentiary devices, which can save time and expense, but seldom affect the final outcome of litigation, and demonstrate the manner in which civil presumptions are mere substitutes for other well known evidentiary devices. We further show the unnecessary complexity introduced by instructions on presumptions. The potential that presumption instructions have for harmful effects on jurors, and the effort required to master the intricate formalities of presumptions, suggest that the main reason for their continued existence is distrust of jurors, and perhaps appellate court distrust of trial courts, and that an appreciation of the extent to which presumptions duplicate other evidentiary devices can be the key to sorely needed reform.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

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Date posted: August 26, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Allen, Ronald J. and Callen, Craig R., The Juridical Management of Factual Uncertainty. International Journal of Evidence & Proof, Vol. 7, p. 1, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=436701 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.436701

Contact Information

Ronald Jay Allen
Northwestern University Law School ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8372 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

Craig R. Callen (Contact Author)
Michigan State University-DCL College of Law ( email )
318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
517-432-6805 (Phone)
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