Mark Schweizer
in: Tichý (ed.), Standard of Proof in Europe, Tübingen (Mohr Siebeck) 2019, p. 19-50
Publication year: 2019

This contribution argues that the standard of proof in civil proceedings, understood as the degree of conviction required before a judge may accept contested factual statements as true, should be such that a judge accepts a factual statement if he believes it more likely to be true than not. A higher degree of conviction, such as “full conviction”, i. e. a conviction bordering on certainty, should be reserved for criminal cases. This standard is both normatively appropriate as well as compatible with positive German law. The argument has been more fully developed in my Habilitationsschrift; the main purpose of this article is to present it to English speakers that do not read German. Like in all summaries, some subtleties are lost. The only substantially new argument is that European law may require a lower standard of proof than the one traditionally applied in civil matters in Germany because national procedural rules must not undermine the effectiveness of European law, which a too demanding standard of proof could. This arose from the discussion at the seminar so generously organized by Professor Luboš Tichý and the Charles University, Prague.

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