Word of the Day - Thursday, September 6th

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Word of the Day


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The Cruciverbalist


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ONUS (OH-nus)

An unwanted responsibility or obligation – a burden

Common clues: Burden of proof; Cross to bear; Taxing load; Difficult burden; Responsibility

Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year

Frequency in English language: 17818 / 86800

News: New rule would put onus on bosses to purge illegals

In the common law, burden of proof (onus probandi) is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. More colloquially, burden of proof refers to an obligation in a particular context to defend a position against a prima facie other position.

There are generally three broad types of burdens.

A legal burden or a burden of persuasion is an obligation that remains on a single party for the duration of the claim. Once the burden has been entirely discharged to the satisfaction of the trier of fact the party carrying the burden will succeed in their claim. For example the presumption of innocence places a legal burden upon the prosecution to prove all elements of the offence and to disprove all the defences.

An evidentiary burden or burden of leading evidence is an obligation that shifts between parties over the course of the hearing or trial. A party may submit evidence that the court will consider prima facie proof of some state of affairs. This creates an evidentiary burden upon the opposing party to present evidence to refute the presumption.

A tactical burden is an obligation similar to an evidentiary burden. Presented with certain evidence, the Court has the discretion to infer a fact from it unless the opposing party can present evidence to the contrary.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Burden of proof".