Civil fraud—dishonesty and standard of proof
Civil fraud—dishonesty and standard of proof

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Civil fraud—dishonesty and standard of proof
  • Standard of proof in civil fraud cases
  • Dishonesty in a civil context
  • Dishonesty—evidencing and proving dishonesty
  • Can you infer dishonesty in civil fraud claims?
  • Pleading dishonesty
  • Expert evidence to gauge dishonesty?
  • Criminal convictions

This Practice Note considers the standard of proof in civil claims based on the defendant’s alleged fraud. It considers the test for dishonesty (per Ivey v Genting) and when dishonesty (and therefore fraud) may be inferred from the facts proved before the court.

For guidance on bringing a civil claim for fraud, see Practice Notes:

  1. Starting a civil fraud claim—a practical guide

  2. Civil fraud—heads of claim

  3. Civil fraud—frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Standard of proof in civil fraud cases

In civil proceedings, the standard of proof is ‘on the balance of probabilities’. It requires proof that the fact in issue more probably occurred than not (Re B). See also the decision of Jacobs J in Vald. Nielsen Holding v Baldorino as discussed in News Analysis: Court confirms settled principles on fraud and conspiracy claims (Vald. Nielsen Holding A/S and another company v Baldorino and others).

This contrasts with the burden and standard of proof in criminal proceedings where each element of the offence must be proven to the criminal standard—‘beyond reasonable doubt’, see Practice Note: Burden and standard of proof in criminal proceedings.

As HHJ Paul Matthews put it in Sofer v Swissindependent Trustees, a claim concerning alleged breach of trustee duties:

‘32. [....] Even if a party seeks to show that a crime, an act of dishonesty or some other morally reprehensible conduct has

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