November 26, 2013

Similar fact evidence in Civil Proceedings

This post was written by: Jagdeep Sandher

Similar fact evidence may be admitted in civil trials if:

  • the proposed evidence is probative of one or more issues in the current litigation; and
  • there are no good grounds why a court should decline to admit it in the exercise of its case management powers.

Matters relevant to this exercise of discretion include the need to weigh the potential probative value of evidence against its potential for causing unfair prejudice, and the need to consider the burden which its admission would lay on the resisting party. In addition, the court will consider the risk that the admission of similar fact evidence will distort the trial and distract the attention of the Court by expecting it to focus attention on issues collateral to the issue to be decided.

On any application, the Court will have regard to the need for proportionality, expedition and the overriding objective.