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ARTICLE III. PRESUMPTIONS

Table of Contents

Article I. General Provisions
Article II. Judicial Notice
Article III. Presumptions
Rule 301
Rule 302
Article IV. Relevancy and Its Limits
Article V. Privileges
Article VI. Witnesses
Article VII. Opinions and Expert Testimony
Article VIII. Hearsay
Article X. Contents of Writings, Recordings,
and Photographs
REVISED ARTICLE III RULES WITH COMMENTARY
 

Introduction

A presumption creates a relationship between a set of facts such that if a trier of fact accepts fact A (basic fact), it must accept fact B (presumed fact). Although a presumption is mandatory, it may be rebutted because the presumed fact is not always true. In order to rebut the presumption, the party against whom the presumption is directed must introduce evidence that disproves the presumed fact--non-B evidence. The introduction of non-A evidence only impacts on the question of whether the presumption is created. It would not rebut the presumption of fact B, which is mandatory, from the conclusion that fact A is true.

Most frequently, a presumption is created because of the probability that if fact A is true, fact B is also true. For example, if a party establishes that a letter has been properly addressed and mailed, then it is presumed that the addressee received the letter because of the high probability that such letters are received. Presumptions have also been created for fairness (access to proof), and social policy that favors or disfavors a claim.

The decision to create a presumption is based on the same considerations as the initial assignments of the burdens of production and persuasion on specific issues in causes of action. Presumptions, therefore, are mechanisms for reallocating burdens of production and persuasion based on the unique facts of each case, which were initially allocated based on the nature of the cause of action and broad considerations of logic, fairness and social policy.

Click here to return to Revised Rule 301.