Half-proof , was a concept of medieval Roman law
Medieval Roman law
Medieval Roman law is the continuation and development of ancient Roman law that developed in the European Late Middle Ages. Based on the ancient text of Roman law, the Corpus iuris civilis, it added many new concepts, and formed the basis of the later civil law systems that prevail in most...

, describing a level of evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 between mere suspicion
Suspicion may refer to:*Suspicion , a feeling of distrust or perceived guilt for someone or something-Music:* "Suspicion" , recorded by Elvis Presley and Terry Stafford* "Suspicion" , a song by R.E.M....

 and the full proof
Evidence (law)
The law of evidence encompasses the rules and legal principles that govern the proof of facts in a legal proceeding. These rules determine what evidence can be considered by the trier of fact in reaching its decision and, sometimes, the weight that may be given to that evidence...

 needed to convict someone of a crime. The concept was introduced by the Glossator
The scholars of the 11th and 12th century legal schools in Italy, France and Germany are identified as glossators in a specific sense. They studied Roman Law based on the Digestae, the Codex of Justinian, the Authenticae The scholars of the 11th and 12th century legal schools in Italy, France and...

s of the 1190s such as Azo
Azo (Jurist)
Azo of Bologna or Azzo or Azolenus was an influential Italian jurist and a member of the school of the so-called glossators. Born circa 1150 in Bologna, Azo studied under Joannes Bassianus and became professor of civil law at Bologna...

, who gives such examples as a single witness or private documents.

In cases where there was half-proof against a defendant, he might be allowed to take an oath as to his innocence, or he might be sent for torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 to extract further evidence that could complete the burden of proof.

Sir Matthew Hale
Matthew Hale (jurist)
Sir Matthew Hale SL was an influential English barrister, judge and jurist most noted for his treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ, or The History of the Pleas of the Crown. Born to a barrister and his wife, who had both died by the time he was 5, Hale was raised by his father's relative, a strict...

, the leading late 17th century English jurist, wrote:
"The evidence at Law which taken singly or apart makes but an imperfect proof, semiplena probatio, yet in conjunction with others grows to a full proof, like Silurus his twigs, that were easily broken apart, but in conjunction or union were not to be broken." However, the concept never became firmly established in English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...


In later times, half-proof was mentioned in 19th century Scots law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

 and in the 1917 Catholic Code of Canon Law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...


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