presumption. A legal inference or assumption that a fact exists, based on the known or proven existence of some other fact or group of facts. • Most presumptions are rules of evidence calling for a certain result in a given case unless the adversely affected party overcomes it with other evidence. A presumption shifts the burden of production or persuasion to the opposing party, who can then attempt to overcome the presumption. See BURDEN OF PRODUCTION . [Cases: Criminal Law 305; Evidence 53–89. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 695; Evidence§§ 2, 130–196, 1341.]

“A presumption may be defined to be an inference as to the existence of one fact from the existence of some other fact founded upon a previous experience of their connection.” William P. Richardson, The Law of Evidence § 53, at 25 (3d ed. 1928).

absolute presumption. See conclusive presumption.

adverse presumption. See adverse inference under INFERENCE.

artificial presumption. See presumption of law.

conclusive presumption. A presumption that cannot be overcome by any additional evidence or argument <it is a conclusive presumption that a child under the age of seven is incapable of committing a felony>. — Also termed absolute presumption; irrebuttable presumption; mandatory presumption; presumption juris et de jure. Cf. rebuttable presumption. [Cases: Constitutional Law 253(5); Evidence 53–89. C.J.S. Constitutional Law § 972; Evidence§§ 2, 130–196, 1341.]

“ ‘Conclusive presumptions’ or ‘irrebuttable presumptions’ are usually mere fictions, to disguise a rule of substantive law (e.g., the conclusive presumption of malice from an unexcused defamation); and when they are not fictions, they are usually repudiated by modern courts.” John H. Wigmore, A Students’ Textbook of the Law of Evidence 454 (1935).

“Conclusive presumptions, sometimes called irrebuttable presumptions of law, are really rules of law. Thus it is said that a child under the age of fourteen years is conclusively presumed to be incapable of committing rape. This is only another way of saying that such a child cannot be found guilty of rape.” Richard Eggleston, Evidence, Proof and Probability 92 (1978).

conditional presumption. See rebuttable presumption.

conflicting presumption. One of two or more presumptions that would lead to opposite results. — Also termed inconsistent presumption. [Cases: Evidence 88. C.J.S. Evidence § 136.]

“ ‘Conflicting presumptions’ are simply two ordinary presumptions that would give opposite results; usually they are really successive presumptions. E.g., where A proves himself to be the son of N, wife of M, but M and N were already separated, and later M married P, and had a son B, the later marriage of M might presume a prior divorce from N before separation to make it valid, and yet the birth of A from a married mother might be presumed legitimate, and thus the question whether A or B was the legitimate son would be attended by opposing presumptions. But in this aspect the doctrine of presumptions is clouded with difficulties and leads to much vain speculation and logical unrealism.” John H. Wigmore, A Students’ Textbook of the Law of Evidence 454 (1935).

disputable presumption. See rebuttable presumption.

dry presumption. A presumption that has no probative value unless the party with the burden of proof presents evidence to support the presumption.

factual presumption. See presumption of fact.

heeding presumption. A rebuttable presumption that an injured product user would have followed a warning label had the product manufacturer provided one. [Cases: Products Liability 75. C.J.S. Products Liability § 72.]

inconsistent presumption. See conflicting presumption.

irrebuttable presumption. See conclusive presumption.

legal presumption. See presumption of law.

mandatory presumption. See conclusive presumption.

McClanahan presumption. See MCCLANAHAN PRESUMPTION.

mixed presumption. A presumption containing elements of both law and fact.

Morgan presumption. See MORGAN PRESUMPTION.

natural presumption. A deduction of one fact from another, based on common experience. [Cases: Evidence 53. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–132, 134, 1341.]

permissive presumption. A presumption that a trier of fact is free to accept or reject from a given set of facts. — Also termed permissive inference. [Cases: Evidence 53, 87. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–135, 152–154, 156, 173, 1341.]

presumption juris et de jure. See conclusive presumption.

presumption of a quorum. Parliamentary law. The presumption that a quorum, once established, is present until the chair or a member notices otherwise.

presumption of fact. A type of rebuttable presumption that may be, but as a matter of law need not be, drawn from another established fact or group of facts <the possessor of recently stolen goods is, by presumption of fact, considered the thief>. — Also termed factual presumption. [Cases: Evidence 53, 87. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–135, 152–154, 156, 173, 1341.]

presumption of general application. A presumption that applies across the board to all legislation, as a result of which lawmakers need not list each such presumption in all bills. [Cases: Evidence 53–89. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–196, 1341.]

“One function of the word ‘presumption’ in the context of statutory interpretation is to state the result of this legislative reliance (real or assumed) on firmly established legal principles. There is a ‘presumption’ that mens rea is required in the case of statutory crimes, and a ‘presumption’ that statutory powers must be exercised reasonably. These presumptions apply although there is no question of linguistic ambiguity in the statutory wording under construction, and they may be described as ‘presumptions of general application.’ At the level of interpretation, their function is the promotion of brevity on the part of the draftsman. Statutes make dreary enough reading as it is, and it would be ridiculous to insist in each instance upon an enumeration of the general principles taken for granted.” Rupert Cross, Statutory Interpretation 142–43 (1976).

presumption of innocence. See PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.

presumption of intent. A permissive presumption that a criminal defendant who intended to commit an act did so. [Cases: Criminal Law 312. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 40.]

presumption of law. A legal assumption that a court is required to make if certain facts are established and no contradictory evidence is produced <by presumption of law, a criminal defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt>. — Also termed legal presumption; artificial presumption; praesumptio juris; pseudopresumption of law. [Cases: Evidence 86. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 131, 134.]

presumption of maternity. See PRESUMPTION OF MATERNITY.

presumption of natural and probable consequences. See PRESUMPTION OF NATURAL AND PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES.

presumption of paternity. See PRESUMPTION OF PATERNITY.

presumption of survivorship. See PRESUMPTION OF SURVIVORSHIP.

presumption of validity. See PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY.

prima facie presumption. See rebuttable presumption.

procedural presumption. A presumption that may be rebutted by credible evidence. [Cases: Evidence 53. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–132, 134, 1341.]

pseudopresumption of law. See presumption of law.

rebuttable presumption. An inference drawn from certain facts that establish a prima facie case, which may be overcome by the introduction of contrary evidence. — Also termed prima facie presumption; disputable presumption; conditional presumption; praesumptio juris. Cf. conclusive presumption. [Cases: Evidence 89. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 131, 135, 152–156, 160.]

statutory presumption. A rebuttable or conclusive presumption that is created by statute. [Cases: Evidence 53. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 2, 130–132, 134, 1341.]

Thayer presumption. See THAYER PRESUMPTION.

[Blacks Law 8th]