Summary: 1. Introduction. – 2. Proof as a Gradable Concept. – 3. Standards of Proof in Common Law Countries. – 4. Standards of Proof in Civil Law Countries. – 5. Is the Distinction Actually So Critical? – 6. Standards of Proof in Ukrainian Law. – 6.1. Recent Developments in Legislation and Jurisprudence. – 6.2. Lost Profit in Ukrainian Law. – 6.3. An O.J. Simpson Case Scenario in Ukraine? – 7. Conclusion.
The article addresses the issue of standards of proof from a comparative perspective. The author sketches the conventional distinction between common law and civil law countries in this regard, as well as some approaches that query the validity of the rigid division. The main purpose of the article is to characterise the Ukrainian approach to the standards of proof against the background of comparative analysis. The author concludes that recent developments in Ukrainian law have paved the way for a distinction between criminal and civil standards of proof. However, the doctrine is not yet elaborate enough to warrant a coherent application of the two different standards. There is a view that in civil law countries, not much attention is paid to the standard of proof. We would rather not take the liberty of generalising about all civil law countries, but with regard to Ukrainian doctrine, the assertion seems rather justified. However, some recent developments in procedural legislation give reasons to believe that the approach is being gradually changed. The disregard of the issue, underpinned by the sacred belief in the attainability of absolute truth, fades in comparison to the acknowledgement that standards of proof may differ in civil (commercial) and criminal cases. It is this inflexion point in Ukrainian evidence law that may entail far-reaching repercussions. Therefore, open discussion of the issue is needed to elaborate a doctrinal approach that could serve as a basis for the development of a coherent jurisprudence.