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hearsay evidence (second-hand evidence)

Evidence of the oral statements of a person other than the witness who is testifying and statements in documents offered to prove the truth of what was asserted. In general, hearsay evidence is inadmissible (the rule against hearsay) but this principle is subject to numerous exceptions. Thus in civil cases, most hearsay statements, whether of fact or opinion, are admissible under the Civil Evidence Acts 1968-72. At common law, there are numerous exceptions applicable to both civil and criminal cases, e.g. *declarations of deceased persons, evidence given in former trials, *depositions, *admissions, and *confessions. Some exceptions apply only to criminal cases, e.g. *dying declarations and statements admitted under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (which makes most first-hand hearsay and certain business documents admissible). See also *admissibility of records; *original evidence.

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