World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0017483212
Reproduction Date:

Title: Half-proof  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Evidence law, Torture, History of probability, Criminal law
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Half-proof (semiplena probatio) was a concept of medieval Roman law, describing a level of evidence between mere suspicion and the full proof needed to convict someone of a crime. The concept was introduced by the Glossators of the 1190s such as Azo, who gives such examples as a single witness or private documents.[1]

In cases where there was half-proof against a defendant, he might be allowed to take an oath as to his innocence, or he might be sent for torture to extract further evidence that could complete the burden of proof.[2]

Sir Matthew Hale, the leading late 17th-century English jurist, wrote: "The evidence at Law which taken singly or apart makes but an imperfect proof, semiplena probatio, yet in conjunction with others grows to a full proof, like Silurus his twigs, that were easily broken apart, but in conjunction or union were not to be broken."[3] However, the concept never became firmly established in English law.

In later times, half-proof was mentioned in 19th century Scots law[4] and in the 1917 Catholic Canon Law.[5]


  1. ^ J. Franklin, The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal, Baltimore, 2001, pp. 18-19.
  2. ^ Franklin, pp. 26-7, 59.
  3. ^ B. Shapiro, Probability and Certainty in Seventeenth-Century England, Princeton, 1983, p. 180.
  4. ^ J. Erskine, An Institute of the Law of Scotland, ed. J. Ivory, Edinburgh, 1828, II: pp. 965, 972.
  5. ^ Franklin, p. 369.

External links

  • Law Dictionary entry, Half proof

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.