Lesson #2: Lexicon of Evidence, Investigations, Legal Cases


1. singular noun
The lexicon of a particular subject is all the terms associated with it. The lexicon of a person or group is all the words they commonly use.

2. countable noun
A lexicon is an alphabetical list of the words in a language or the words associated with a particular subject.

Each profession and area of knowledge has a language that includes unique terms and concepts. Whether you are a surgeon, farmer, plumber, lawyer, or investigator – knowledge of the Lexicon of your area of interest is critical.

This list of evidential, legal, and investigative terms will be updated frequently as the Training Syllabus evolves. (Suggestions & Additions are welcome)

You must study, learn, and research these terms to be effective, to maintain credibility when dealing with others, and to become confident in your own knowledge and abilities.

  • Burden of Proof: The obligation to prove the allegations.
    • In criminal law, this burden lies with the prosecution, which must establish each element of the offense ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’
    • In civil cases, a lower standard is used where the plaintiff has the burden of proving their case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means the plaintiff merely needs to show that the fact in dispute is more likely than not.
  • Chain of Custody: The chronological documentation showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence – crucial for ensuring its integrity.
  • Circumstantial Evidence: Indirect evidence that implies a fact through an inference. This includes physical evidence, patterns of behavior, or circumstances surrounding the crime.
  • Confessions and Admissions: Statements by the accused acknowledging certain facts or the commission of the crime, which must be voluntarily given to be admissible.
  • Corroborative Evidence: Additional evidence that supports or confirms the existing evidence, enhancing its credibility. Corroboration is vital to ensure that a legal case does not rest upon one piece of evidence.
  • Direct Evidence: Evidence that, if believed, directly proves a fact. Examples include eyewitness testimony or a video recording of the crime.
  • Elements of the Offense: Fundamental components that must be proven for a crime to be established. These usually include:
    • Actus Reus (Guilty Act): The physical act or unlawful omission constituting the crime.
    • Mens Rea (Guilty Mind): The mental state or intent of the person committing the act, showing they were aware their actions were wrong or criminal.
  • Evidence: Material items or assertions of fact that may be submitted to a competent tribunal as a means of ascertaining the truth of any alleged matter of fact under investigation before it.
  • Exculpatory Evidence: Evidence that might exonerate the defendant, suggesting their innocence.
  • Expert Testimony: Testimony from individuals with specialized knowledge, skills, or experience in a particular field, relevant to the case.
  • Forensic Evidence: Evidence gathered in a manner that is suitable to courts of justice. The term comes from the Latin forensis, meaning “public” and forum, meaning “court.” Forensic may also refer to something of, relating to, or involving the scientific methods used for investigating crimes like DNA analysis, fingerprint analysis, or ballistics.
  • Hearsay: Statements made outside of the court that are presented to prove the truth of the content of the statement. Generally, hearsay is inadmissible unless it falls under certain exceptions.
  • Inculpatory Evidence: Evidence that suggests or proves the defendant’s guilt.
  • Prima Facie Case: Evidence that, unless rebutted, is sufficient to prove a particular fact or the case as a whole.
  • Statute: Legal definition of specific crimes, typically found in criminal codes or legislation, outlining what constitutes a particular offense.
  • Witness Testimony: Statements made by witnesses, either eyewitnesses or character witnesses, providing accounts of their observations or interactions.

Revision History

February 19, 2024: Initial Publication