The standard of proof is the level of certainty the evidence and testimony given to a court must reach before the court will order a remedy. There are generally three standards of proof recognized at law:
- Reasonable and probable cause, the lowest standard, reserved for investigative or procedural remedies such as issuing a search warrant, issuing a criminal indictment or requiring a witness to attend under force of a summons to witness.
- Balance of probabilities, the next standard, which is the standard of proof in civil lawsuits and administrative tribunals. It requires that the finder of fact merely believe one version of facts is more likely than the other.
- Beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard, which must be met in criminal cases. A finding of guilt requires not only that the version of facts before the court is more likely, but that there is no evidence of any kind that would cast doubt on that version of facts.
See also burden of proof.