+46 8 791 8944 support@translegal.com

The World Law Dictionary Project

English may be the common language of the world, but the Common Law is not the common law of the world

That’s why, in a unique project, TransLegal has teamed up with leading law schools from around the world to create an online multilingual law dictionary linking the world’s legal languages to a single English law dictionary.

e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
# a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

prima facie adjective

evidence sufficient in law to establish a fact unless proved otherwise; at first sight; apparently correct
The signed contracts were prima facie evidence of knowledge.

Hi and welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week.

Today we're going to be talking about prima facie.

Now this Latin phrase, prima facie, is troublesome for a number of reasons, not least of which because of its pronunciations. Most people will pronounce it in the way they first heard it from a law school professor, but if you look it up in any legal English dictionary like Blacks or Oxford, you'll find two to three different pronunciations for the term.

Essentially though, what it means is evidence that's sufficient in law to establish a fact unless it's proved otherwise. In other words, it is considered to be true or at least adequate on first appearance, absent other information or evidence.

It's often used in litigation in the phrase 'prima facie case'. A prima facie case signifies the establishment of a legally required rebuttable presumption. In other words, a prima facie case is a lawsuit or even a criminal charge which on its face appears to be sufficient and supported by the requisite minimum of evidence. An example of this in use would be:

"The Plaintiff presented a prima facie case for breach of copyright and when the matter proceeded to trial, the Plaintiff successfully proved his allegations".

In a similar way, prima facie evidence is evidence that is sufficient to prove a factual matter at issue and justify a favorable judgment on that issue unless it's been rebutted, and a sample of that usage would be:

"The side contracts were prima facie evidence of knowledge".
That's it for today. If you have any questions about prima facie or its various pronunciations, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below and myself or one of my colleagues will get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks.

This is a limited preview!

To see an example of a full dictionary entry click one of the example entries

jurisdiction consideration principal

Phrase Bank

Additional Notes

Expand your Legal English vocabulary word by word

Online and free each and every week!

Word of the week