Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning, at first appearance.

In the dictionary of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights this term is also explained as – at first glance.

Evidence prima facie is a very important category related to the foreign theory of evidence, which is very popular with arbitrators around the world.

This applies to evidence that is considered to prove that an event took place, and if they are not refuted, then by law they are admissible.

The concept of prima facie evidence originally arose in common law countries.

At present, it implies obvious and sufficient evidence, which seems reliable in the absence of a rebuttal. Such evidence shall be presented in the order of a rebuttable presumption “in the absence of evidence in favor of the contrary.”

In a resolution on one of the arbitration proceedings held in Switzerland under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce, it is indicated that in order to apply interim measures in support of the stated requirements, it is necessary to justify them with prima facie evidence. In another case, the arbitral tribunal noted: “While it is true that strict rules of evidence are not applied in arbitration, there is no doubt that the basic rules and standards of evidence must be respected. It’s the duty of the applicant to provide evidence prima facie, confirming the amount and cost of the work to which he refers ”

Documents that may serve as prima facie evidence are sometimes defined in international agreements. In particular, in Art. 16 of the Hamburg Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea, states that the bill of lading is prima facie evidence of the reception, and, in the case of the issuance of an on-board bill of lading, loading by the carrier as described in the bill of lading. A bill of lading that does not include a freight indication or another indication that the freight should be paid by the consignee, or a demurrage that occurred at the port of loading that is payable by the consignee is not indicated, is prima facie proof that no freight or demurrage is due from it.

Thus, we can conclude that the essence of this term is quite simple and familiar. Since prima facie is evidence that appears from the very beginning, as it were, “at first glance”, that is, the most basic, basic evidence that seems extremely weighty if the opponent does not refute it and is presented, as a rule, at the very beginning of the trial. Although for a sufficiently “strong” evidence base, prima facie may not be enough.

The article was prepared by Elizabeth Shablovskaya, a trainee at the Lawyer bureau “Tarasyuk, Ihnatiuk and Partners”


33 K. Marx St., 4th floor, Brest,
224005, Republic of Belarus

Working hours: 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. break 1.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday – days off.

Футер en
© 2020 | All rights reserved