RunSensible’s Legal Dictionary

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Legal Dictionary

Question of Fact

In legal proceedings, a question of fact refers to a dispute or issue that revolves around factual circumstances or events. Questions of fact pertain to what actually happened in a given situation, unlike questions of law, which involve the interpretation and application of legal principles. These issues are typically resolved by examining evidence and making determinations based on the factual content presented.

For instance, in a personal injury case, a question of fact might be whether the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Similarly, in a criminal trial, questions of fact could include whether the accused was present at the scene of the crime or whether a specific act occurred.

The trier of fact, which may be a judge or a jury, depending on the legal system, is responsible for resolving questions of fact. They listen to witness testimony, review documents, and consider other forms of evidence to determine what actually transpired in a particular situation. It is crucial to establish the facts accurately because the application of the law is contingent on the underlying factual circumstances of the case.

Once questions of fact are determined, legal decisions can be based on those established facts. In some legal systems, the standard of review for questions of fact on appeal is deferential, meaning that appellate courts are reluctant to overturn the findings of the trier of fact unless there is a clear error or an abuse of discretion.

Overall, questions of fact play a crucial role in the legal process, helping to establish the foundation upon which legal decisions are made.

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