Tag Archives: public records

Evidential Weight of Public Records: Comparative View of World’s Constitutions (Published)

This paper examined the evidential weight of public records across different jurisdictions of the world. The paper identified the problem of the admissibility or otherwise of items of public records in legal processes. This problem may have arisen against the backdrop of the need for personal privacy protections. The paper aimed to show that while evidence is the key to reaching a decision on the adjudication of any matter, public records are the most important record of government activities. On the controversy arising from the arguments for access to public records and that of the protection of personal privacy, balancing the interests is key. On the issue of the evidential weight of public records, certain criteria are identified as qualifying any item to be presented as evidence, namely – materiality, relevance, cogency and admissibility. It is not out of place to conclude, as demonstrated in this paper, that across the selected jurisdictions of the world, namely – Nigeria, United States of America, and the United Kingdom, items of public records that meet the aforementioned criteria enjoy very high evidential weight. The only exceptions are when the need for privacy supersedes the public interest and when the items of public records are acquired in ways that contravene the Constitution as is the case in the United States of America.

Keywords: Weight, comparative view, public records, world’s constitutions