Journal of African Law


Research Article

THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING: THE PRESENTATION AND PROOF OF EXPERT EVIDENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA


Lirieka Meintjes–Van Der Walt  1


Abstract

Imagine, as one may well imagine at this time of the day, a chocolate mousse, dark and delectable, or a tempting tiramasu or a perfect pavlova. How are you going to decide which is best? Yes, indeed the actual presentation of the puddings may influence your choice, but to be able to make an informed choice, you would need to taste them. Do you have to make the choice according to your own taste, or do you have to decide which should go best with your menu for your dinner party? If you have to decide which is best, you would have to be able to rank them in relation to other mousses, tiramasus or pavlovas. You need to know the ingredients, and for a professional decision you would need some knowledge of the art of cooking. Proof in the art of cooking, science, and also in law depends on the quantum and quality of evidence or data sufficient to support a conclusion. Loevinger concludes that “[p]roof ultimately depends on the ability of the human mind to make appropriate and useful distinctions and connections among data or items of evidence”.



Footnotes

1 Professor, Law Faculty, Rhodes University, South Africa. An edited version of a paper delivered at the Inaugural Conference of the International Studies on Expert Evidence: Causation, Proof and Presentation, 2–5 July, 2002, Prato, Italy.