Prima Facie

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Sep 23, 2021


What is Meant by Prima Facie?

Prima facie is a legal claim having enough evidence to proceed to trial or judgment. Prima facie, in Latin, means "at first sight". During civil litigation, a plaintiff files a lawsuit alleging injury was caused by actions (or inactions) of a defendant.

For example, a business might file a claim alleging that after failing to deliver an order, one of its suppliers is in breach of contract. Such failure to deliver has resulted in the business losing customers.

The case filed with the court offers background information on the cause for the litigation. Further, what was the accident and how the defendant may have contributed to the incidence of this injury will be addressed.

A judge may conclude, after an initial review of the accusation during a pre-trial hearing, that there is enough evidence to support a case. Thus, the situation is called Prima Facie.

Importance of Prima Facie in the Court of Law

Even if it makes a prima facie case to go to court, the plaintiff is not guaranteed about winning the lawsuit. All civil lawsuits place the burden of proof on the complainant. The court finds the argument valid only if the complainant can provide a preponderance of the evidence. In some cases, the court has only decided whether or not a case is Prima Facie. Also, the Prima Facie will be defined enough not to allow the defendant to present evidence.

In some cases, the evidence presented in a claim is sufficient to permit a summary judgment. In a Prima Facie case, the facts are adequate to prove that the actions of the defendant back the claims of injury of the plaintiff.

The courts have established tests and guidelines in employment discrimination lawsuits, which judges use to determine whether a summary judgment can be given. If the plaintiff can set up a Prima Facie case, then the burden of proof shifts towards the defendant, who must prove that for reasons other than discrimination, an employee has been terminated.

Reference of Prima Facie in India

Prima facie case means that the defendant must show the presence of a legal right in him to remain in possession. When considering an injunction case, it is well-settled, the courts must pass an order based on the following:

  1. Prima Facie
  2. Convenience balance
  3. Irreparable harm

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