Is it relevant?

o°While a paralegal is not going to be conducting questioning during a trial, the issue of relevance is one the paralegal will encounter.  One important area is in motion work where exhibits and testimony in support of a motion need to be relevant.

To determine whether something is relevant under California Law, one should ask 3 questions:

  1. Is the offered evidence of consequence to the issues in the action?
  2. Does the offered evidence have any tendency to make a fact more or less probable?
  3. Even if it is relevant, is the probative value of the evidence (its ability to prove or disprove a fact) substantially outweighed by the other considerations (i.e. inflammatory nature, prejudicial nature).

The 3 elements of relevance are more concisely:

  • of consequence
  • probative (having a tenancy to make a fact more or less probable)
  • probative value must substantially outweighs other considerations such as potential prejudice.

The practitioner can easily see that this is not a black and white test as to whether or not something is relevant.  A paralegal should be familiar with the terms and the analysis of evidence to determine relevancy, so they can be of assistance to the attorney in pointing out evidence that might not be within the parameters of relevance.

Published in: on February 6, 2013 at 8:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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