The burden of persuasion is the requisite degree of belief a party must convince a jury that a particular proposition of fact is true. Combined with the burden of production, the burden of persuasion makes up one half of the burden of proof.
In civil cases, a party's burden is usually "by a preponderance of the evidence." In criminal cases, the prosecution's burden is "beyond a reasonable doubt." In practice, the given burden of persuasion is often dispositive in close cases or cases where evidence is limited. As a result, courts often utilize burden shifting to place the burden of persuasion upon the party best capable of producing relevant evidence.
Unlike the burden of production, the burden of persuasion is an issue of fact, not an issue of law. As a result, a judge cannot dismiss a case before it reaches the jury for failing to meet the burden of persuasion.
[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]