Taking of evidence and mode of proof - General Information
If you have a claim against someone, you must be able to prove it
If you initiate legal proceedings, your claim against the other party may be well-founded. But often that will not be sufficient for actually winning your case because the other party contests the facts on which you have based your claim. Therefore it is usually crucial to present evidence to the court in order to prove your claim.
There are different ways in which evidence can be taken. In certain cases proof by a document may be possible, e.g. when it is questionable whether debt has been paid or not. In cases where no such proof exists, it may be appropriate to hear witnesses who can testify their observations. Sometimes it will be necessary to make use of experts in a specific subject matter, e.g. when the exact amount of the damage is to be ascertained. If necessary, the court will not only examine the evidence presented to it, but also visit the scene of occurrence (e.g. of an accident).
All the Member States have rules on the taking of evidence which are designed to guarantee that the judge is put in a position in which he can establish the facts of a case as precisely as possible.
Each Member State has specific rules on the taking of evidence. They differ with respect to the means admissible for taking evidence, the procedure that has to be followed, the rules concerning the burden of proof and the assessment of the evidence by the court.
Information on the systems of taking of evidence in each Member State can be found by clicking on their flags.
If in your case it is necessary to take evidence in a Member State other than the one in which you are resident, it is worth knowing that as of 2004 the relevant procedures are laid down in a European Regulation. To find out more, click on the "Community law" icon.
There is also an international convention, concluded in 1970, that governs relations between certain Member States of the European Union and non-EU countries that are party to the convention. To find out more, click on the "International law" icon.