Actori incumbit probatio” is a Latin legal maxim that means “the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff.” This principle is an important aspect of the legal system in civil law jurisdictions such as Poland.
The principle of “Actori incumbit probatio” means that the plaintiff in a legal dispute has the responsibility to provide evidence to support their claims. The defendant is not required to prove their innocence or disprove the plaintiff’s claims unless the plaintiff has met their burden of proof. In other words, the plaintiff must present evidence to convince the court that their claims are true and if they fail to meet this burden, their case may be dismissed. This principle helps to ensure that legal decisions are based on evidence and not just on accusations or allegations.
Overall, the principle of “Actori incumbit probatio” emphasizes the importance of evidence in the legal system and helps to ensure that legal disputes are resolved fairly and objectively. At the first glimpse – the rule looks simple. Each party puts forward the evidence at its disposal that it considers apt to support its case and the court freely determines the relevance and weight of the evidence thus adduced.
In the present practice of the Polish court proceedings, the game is much more complex. Evidence is typically in the form of documents, objects, witness testimonies and expert opinions. The plaintiff must carefully draft the pleading so as to establish all elements of the claim. This is an important consideration when it comes to putting forward the evidence at his disposal. If he omits at this stage an important piece of evidence, he may not be allowed to present it later during the court proceedings because Polish law requires that the plaintiff present all the relevant evidence at the start of the proceedings in the statement of claim. Any additional submissions of evidence may require approval from the judge. Keeping an important piece of evidence away from the courtroom could be a difference between winning and losing the case.
In particular types of cases, the law requires that the plaintiff proves his case with expert opinion. For instance, in medical malpractice cases, it is not enough for the plaintiff to present factual evidence to the court to succeed. The plaintiff must prove that malpractice occurred through the forensic opinion prepared by medical experts. In order to achieve this, the plaintiff has to include in his statement of claim the motion for the appointment of experts who will examine the case and will issue forensic opinion on the subject.
In claims for damages or compensation, the law requires that the plaintiff presents evidence on the amount of loss he actually suffered. For instance, in property damage claims the plaintiff must prove precisely all components of his claim. As a rule, a Polish court may not award a higher amount in damages than the loss actually suffered. Polish law also does not provide for the possibility of asserting punitive or exemplary damages which could be awarded to the injured party.

About the Author

Back to list

Read also