Facts are usually the information about the case given by the client to his lawyer. The lawyers base their arguments on the facts given, in order to win the cases in the court of law. The very first step to provide any legal solution to any issue at hand involves the application of the law to the facts of the particular case. Before a legal solution to the particular problem can be found, or a determination made whether a lawsuit should be filed, it is necessary to identify the facts of the case which are critical to the outcome of the case.
The word “fact” is derived from the Latin word “factum.” It was first used in the English language with the same meaning that is a thing done or performed. But the same is now obsolete. The word “fact” now means “something which has occurred.” The meaning dates from the middle of the 16th century. In layman’s language, the fact stands for “something which is real, tangible like an actual event” and in a lawsuit, a fact is an information of the case concerning an event or a circumstance.
In most of the common law jurisdictions, the concept of fact and its analysis reflects fundamental principles of jurisprudence. It is also supported by various well-established standards. Under common law jurisdictions, the matters of fact have numerous formal definitions which include:
• Fact is an element which is required in legal proceedings to demonstrate a cause of action;
• Fact is the potential ground of reversible error forwarded on appeal in an appellate court;
• The fact helps in the determinations of the finder of fact after evaluating admissible evidence; and
• Any of the various matters subject to investigation so to establish whether a crime has been perpetrated or not, and to establish the culpability of the accused.
In India, the term fact has been described under Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act. And it is not only conned to the tangible nature but includes even the state of mind, feelings, and personal opinions are under the broad umbrella of facts.
TYPES OF FACTS
• The relevant fact is the fact which has a certain degree of probative force. It means some connection may be traced either from the cause to effect or from the effect to cause. All facts can be said to be relevant that exists in relation to cause or effect to the fact alleged to exist.
• Irrelevant fact/ facts are those facts which are coincidental to the event but doesn’t have significant legal importance in the case.
• Physical facts include state of things or relation of things, anything capable of being or perceived by the senses.
• Psychological fact is any mental condition of which a person is conscious.
IMPORTANCE OF FACTS
• Our Indian legal system resolves disputes by applying the rule of law to the facts of the case. The issue at hand is the specific question raised by the specific facts of one’s case. Therefore, the facts are important for the issue at hand.
• Facts are also important so as to determine which law can be applied to a case or how law can be applied to a particular case in the presence or absence of certain facts.
• Another reason for its importance is that the determination of whether the court’s opinion is on point is largely governed by the similarity between the facts of the client’s case and the facts of the court opinion.
LOGICAL AND LEGAL RELEVANCY OF FACTS
In India, there is no definition given to the term “Relevant” under the Indian Evidence Act. But Section 5 to Section 55 of the Evidence Act dealt with the relevancy of the facts. The main issue in this regard is deciding which fact fulfils the criteria of legally relevant as well as logical in nature. A fact may be logically relevant, but there is no surety that it will be legally admissible in the court of law. So all the evidence which are to be produced in the court of law has to satisfy two conditions. And those two important hurdles are that the evidence has to be both logically relevant and legally admissible at the same time.
In the case of State of UP v. Raj Narain, it was said that not all relevant facts are admissible in the court of law. The Ram Bihari Yadav v. the State of Bihar is a landmark judgment which explains the distinction between relevance and admissibility and the concept of clearing the two hurdles. It states that relevancy is actually the test of admissibility. The Apex Court stated that “in most cases, the two words admissibility and relevancy are used interchangeably, but their legal implication is very different because often relevant facts such as communication between the spouses in wedlock are important but not legally admissible.”
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To conclude, there is nothing wrong in saying that the facts of the case are imperative for any outcome of the case. It not only helps in commencing the proceedings before the court of law but also leads to the right direction to provide justice to the needy.