Question of fact


Question of fact

In law, a question of fact (also known as a point of fact) is a question which must be answered by reference to facts and evidence, and inferences arising from those facts. Such a question is distinct from a question of law, which must be answered by applying relevant legal principles. The answer to a question of fact (a "finding of fact") is usually dependent on particular circumstances or factual situations.

To illustrate the difference:

  • Question of fact: Did Mr. and Mrs. Jones leave their 10-year-old child home alone with their baby for 4 days?
  • Question of law: Does leaving a baby with a 10-year old child for 4 days fit the legal definition of child neglect?

All questions of fact are capable of proof or disproof, by reference to a certain standard of proof. Depending on the nature of the matter, the standard of proof may require that a fact be proven to be "more likely than not", that is there is barely more evidence for the fact than against, as established by a preponderance of the evidence; or true beyond reasonable doubt.

Answers to questions of fact are determined by a trier of fact, such as a jury, or a judge. In many jurisdictions, such as the United States, appellate courts generally do not consider appeals based on errors of fact (errors in answering a question of fact). Rather, the findings of fact of the first venue are usually given great deference by appellate courts.

See also



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Look at other dictionaries:

  • question of fact — see question 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. question of fact …   Law dictionary

  • question of fact — noun a disputed factual contention that is generally left for a jury to decide • Syn: ↑matter of fact • Hypernyms: ↑question, ↑head * * * : fact in issue * * * a question concerning the reality of an alleged event or circumstance in a trial by… …   Useful english dictionary

  • question of fact — a question concerning the reality of an alleged event or circumstance in a trial by jury, usually determined by the jury. Cf. question of law. * * * …   Universalium

  • question of fact — A question for the jury in a trial by jury or for the court in a trial to the court. A question of the truth to be decided upon conflicting evidence …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • question of fact — discussion relating to facts, argument about facts …   English contemporary dictionary

  • decide a question of fact — index find (determine) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • fact — n [Latin factum deed, real happening, something done, from neuter of factus, past participle of facere to do, make] 1: something that has actual existence: a matter of objective reality 2: any of the circumstances of a case that exist or are… …   Law dictionary

  • question — ques·tion n 1: a particular query directed to a witness compare interrogatory hy·po·thet·i·cal question /ˌhī pə the ti kəl/: a question directed to an expert witness (as a physician) that is based on the existence of facts offered in evidence and …   Law dictionary

  • question of law — see question 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. question of law …   Law dictionary

  • fact and law — A term used to denote issues or events that have taken place and the legal jurisdiction that governs how they are viewed. Fact in legal terms, is the event, while law refers to the actual rules that determine how facts are viewed by the courts.… …   Law dictionary


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