in the second section and also the requirement for evidential supplements, in general. To
conclude the article, I provide a summary of its contents.
Corroborative rule, evidence, quantity of evidence, supplementary evidence, supportive
The Corroborative Rule from a comparative perspective
The word ‘corroboration’ means support, confirmation or reinforcement. In relation to the law of evidence, it
refers to the requirement in any rule of law or practice that certain kinds of evidence should be confirmed or
supported by other independent evidence, in order to be sufficient to convict a defendant of a criminal offence.
The desirability of corroboration in certain cases arises from the perception that certain kinds of
evidence are inherently suspect, either because of the nature of the witness himself (e.g. a young child) or
because of the likelihood that the witness may have some purpose of his own to serve in giving evidence
against the accused (e.g. an accomplice) (Glover and Murphy, 2017: 278).
The CR developed in English common law in the 18th century in order to cope with the single
evidence of a witness, when there was a high probability that it was unreliable.
The difficulty involved
in the establishment of factual findings in reliance on a single piece of evidence or testimony is also
expressed in Hebrew Law, which does not allow an individual to be convicted according to a single piece
of evidence except in exceptional cases, since it is argued ‘One witness is not enough to convict anyone
accused of any crime or offence they may have committed. A matter must be established by the
testimony of two or three witnesses.’
In the following discussion, I explain the application of the CR
in English, Scottish, American and Israeli Law and the distinctions between them.
The Corroborative Rule in English law
Until 1994 there were certain exceptions to this rule, which were anchored in statutory law and in case
law. Those exceptions related to a single piece of evidence given by the complainant regarding a sex
offence (Malek et al., 2013: 428–432), to a single piece of evidence given by an accomplice testifying for
the prosecution (Malek et al., 2013: 432–433), and also to a single piece of evidence given by a child
who was not sworn in by the court (Glover and Murphy (2017: 278; Malek at al. 2013: 425).
In each of
1. Glover and Murphy (2017: 278). ‘Corroboration is evidence which confirms a witness’s testimony making the testimony more
likely to be true’. RvC (B) (1993), 80 CCC (3d) 467, at 473 (Ont. CA). The word ‘corroboration’ in itself has no special legal
meaning. Its source can be found in the Latin word ‘robur’ and the English word ‘robust’, which means ‘to strengthen’. See Hill
et al. (2009: 31–32).
2. The development of this rule focused mainly on the testimony of a crown witness. In 1744, English Common Law stipulated a
requirement for an evidential supplement of the ‘corroborative’ type in order to determine factual findings to convict an accused
in reliance on the sole evidence of the crown witness. The assumption was that it would otherwise be impossible to cope
optimally with the fear of perjury. The demand for assistance in order to sentence according to single testimony of a crown
witness spread to other states, including the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. In contrast, the concept of a crown
witness was not accepted by the Continental Law approach, because of the inquisitor procedure practised in their legal method.
See Halevi (2013: 596–597). See also Langbein (2005: 165).
3. Deuteronomy 19:15. See also Deuteronomy 17:6; Numbers 38:30. Halevi (2013: 591).
4. For example RvG (A)  1 S.C.R. 439 at 453–454; RvVetrovec (1982), 67 CCC (2d) 1 (SCC) at 8; RvZito (1994), 94
CCC (3d) 477 at 478.
which obliges the court to instruct the jury regarding the risk involved in relying on a single testimony of a child who has not
been sworn in by the court, was anchored in the stipulation of s. 38(1) of The Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (Eng.).