Circumstantial Evidence

Legal Definition and Related Resources of Circumstantial Evidence

Meaning of Circumstantial Evidence

Facts from which the existence of the fact in issue may be logically inferred. That evidence by which, through process of inference , it is sought to prove existence of other facts. See People v Wiley, 126 Cal. Rptr. 6, 53 C.A.3d436. A body of facts may be proved of so conclusive a character as to warrant a firm belief of the fact in issue, quite as strong and certain as that on which reasonable men are accustomed to act. legal evidence which is capable of supporting a conviction , it being necessary only that the circumstances proved be of a conclusive nature and tendency, leading on the whole to a satisfactory conclusion and producing a reasonable certainty that the accused and no one else committed the crime . People v Jackson, 340 N.E.2d 673, 35 Ill.App.3d 215.

Circumstantial Evidence Alternative Definition

The proof of certain facts and circumstances in a given case from which the jury may infer other connected facts which uusally and reasonably follow according to the common experience of mankind. 272 111. 179. That which is applied to the principal fact indirectly, or through the medium of other facts, by establishing certain circumstances or minor facts from which the principal fact is gathered by a process of inference. See 3 Benth. Jud. Ev. 2, 5. The process by which a fact not directly known is inferred from known facts or circumstances. 1 Starkie, Ev. 18. The terms “circumstantial” and “presumptive” are often used interchangeably to denote the same kind of evidence, but in strictness this is not correct. Presumptive evidence is a species of circumstantial evidence, though so large a species as to be almost coextensive with its genus. Evidence may be circumstantial without being presumptive, either because it fails to raise a presumption, or because the inference to which it gives rise is stronger than mere presumption. Burrill, Circ. Ev. 76. Circumstantial evidence is of two kinds, namely: certain, or that from which the conclusion in question necessarily follows; and uncertain, or that from which the conclusion does not necessarily follow, but is probable only, and is obtained by process of reasoning. 127 111. 520.

Related Entries of Circumstantial Evidence in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Circumstantial Evidence in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Circumstantial Evidence in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Circumstantial Evidence in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Circumstantial Evidence in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Translate Circumstantial Evidence from English to Spanish

Translation of Circumstantial Evidence, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Prueba indirecta and other legal terms is available here.


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Circumstantial Evidence in the Dictionary Circumstantial Evidence in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Circumstantial Evidence
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Related topics Circumstantial Evidence in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Circumstantial Evidence is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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Meaning of Circumstantial Evidence in Spanish

Description/ translation of circumstantial evidence into Spanish: prueba indiciaria (la que no está basada en testimonios o elementos directos)[1]

Note: for more information on related terms and on the area of law where circumstantial evidence belongs (criminal procedure law), in Spanish, see here.

Notes and References

  1. Translation of Circumstantial Evidence published by Antonio Peñaranda


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Artificial fibers; Blood; Bloodstain evidence; Civil court, forensic evidence; CODIS: Combined DNA Index System; Crime scene investigation; Crime scene reconstruction; DNA fingerprint; DNA profiling; DNA sequences, unique; DNA typing systems; Evidence; Expert witnesses; Federal Rules of Evidence; Fibers; Hair analysis; PCR (polymerase chain reaction); Statistical interpretation of evidence; Supreme Court; Rulings on forensic evidence.
  • Circumstantial evidence in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of circumstantial evidence.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police Officer
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    English Legal System: Circumstantial Evidence

    In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Circumstantial Evidence : (circumstantial evidence, indirect evidence)

    Evidence from which the judge or Jury may infer the existence of a fact in issue but which does not prove the existence of the fact directly. Case law has described circumstantial evidence as evidence that is relevant (and, therefore, admissible) but that has little probative value.

    Compare direct evidence.

    Meaning of Circumstantial Evidence in the U.S. Legal System

    Definition of Circumstantial Evidence published by the National Association for Court Management: proof of a chain of facts and circumstances indicating the existence of a fact. It is evidence which immediately establishes collateral facts from which the main fact may be inferred. Circumstantial evidence is based on inference and not on personal knowledge or observation.



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