This is a single section from Chapter 26. Read the full chapter here.

On whom should the burden of proof fall?

The burden of proving all the elements of a contravention that results in a pecuniary penalty should be on the enforcement agency bringing proceedings.

Generally, the party initiating proceedings, usually the enforcement agency in the case of pecuniary penalties, should have the legal burden to prove the elements of the case, because that party seeks the penalty from the court.

Sometimes, there may be good reasons for placing a burden of proof on a defendant in relation to a defence. These might include cases where the party initiating proceedings would face serious difficulty in proving the matter or would incur significant expense to do so, but the matter is likely to be within the particular knowledge of the defendant or can be proved by the defendant cheaply and easily.

The Ministry of Justice should be consulted as to whether a burden of proof on the defendant is appropriate and, if so, whether it should be a legal burden to prove the matter or an evidential burden to raise credible evidence to make the matter relevant.

This page was last modified on