The ‘mirror of evidence’ and the plausibility of judicial proof

AuthorBaosheng Zhang,Jia Cao
Published date01 January 2017
Date01 January 2017
Subject MatterArticles
The ‘mirror of evidence’ and the
plausibility of judicial proof
Baosheng Zhang
China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China
Jia Cao
China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China
In the process of judicial proof, the court has to make findings of fact concerning events that
happened in the past. But the triers of fact have no direct knowledge of the past events.
Therefore,the triers can only find the truth by means of the ‘mirrorof evidence’, which inevitably
differs from theoriginal facts of the case. It isthe truth reconstructed in thetrier’s mind, and only
a product of thought. The ‘mirror of evidence’ doctrine explains that what the fact-finder could
find is only a plausible account ofthe truth. As the evidence-based informationcannot be entirely
achieved, the facts reconstructed under the ‘mirror of evidence’ doctrine seem like ‘flowers in a
mirror’. The judicial proof process is mostly deemed to be a probabilisticreasoning process. But
its deepest foundation is the plausibility approach. The plausibility approach properly explains
judicial proof better than the probability explanation. Compared with the western countries’
undergoing evolvement of the judicial proof theory from probability to plausibility, Chinese
scholars are fighting against the statutory determination of evidence doctrine. The research on
probability andplausibility will provide significant enlightenment in China in terms of rejecting the
traditional theory of pursuing absolute certainty in judicial proof. We hope that by progressively
renewing the understanding of judicial proof, the plausibility of judicial proof can be recognised
and applied gradually in the judicial practice in China.
judicial proof, mirror of evidence, plausibility, probability, stone of generalisation
In order to prevent arbitrariness in judicial adjudication, modern judicial proof follows the principle of
adjudication by evidence,
attempting to pursue a corroborative relationship between the factual premise
Corresponding author:
Baosheng Zhang, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, China.
1. The Chinese version of this principle, prescribed by the Chinese Supreme Court in Judicial Interpretation of the Rule of
Criminal Procedure Section 61, is ‘The finding of fact must be based on evidence’.
The International Journalof
Evidence & Proof
2017, Vol. 21(1-2) 119–132
ªThe Author(s) 2016
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1365712716674795

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