The law recognizes such evidence as objects that by their appearance, properties, location or other characteristics can serve as a means of establishing circumstances that are important for the consideration and resolution of civil cases. That is why, for example, in the criminal process they are also referred to as "the body of a crime" (corpus delicti).
The legal concept of material evidence covers a variety of objects and things that are represented or only named participants in the legal proceedings in a particular case.
It is advisable to distinguish three groups of items that can be attributed to physical evidence:
- material objects of the claims in question (property claimed by the plaintiff, disputed living space, etc.). Proof value can have such properties as the price of the property, its qualitative characteristics, volume, location;
- poor-quality products, spoiled things, partially or completely lost their commercial properties. They can testify both of their own consumer value, and of the intensity of the inappropriate activity of the defendants or a third party on the defendant's side;
- counterfeit or forged documents, as well as erroneous acts of official bodies.
For all the difference, all these material evidences are important primarily for their properties (appearance, changes, location, affiliation). That is why they are indispensable as a means of proof and are subject to particularly careful storage, in some cases - in special storage chambers. KS Yudelson questioned this feature, referring to the fact that samples of poor-quality products are physical evidence, and they may well be replaceable. But the samples are not yet the material evidence - they are only a part of defective products, i.e. part of this means of proof. That's why they can be replaced.
Physical evidence has evidentiary value in cases when they:
- serve as evidence in the sense of objects of direct judicial knowledge (for example, during the proceedings the court examines the things presented by the parties and is convinced of their inferiority, etc.);
- have the value of evidence (for example, finding a particular thing in the defendant confirms the fact of the offense);
- if they are objects of expert research.
As an independent means of proving material evidence is not always convenient for use in judicial practice, since it can be bulky, nontransportable, requiring special storage mode (Article 74 GPK). Therefore, according to the general rule, after the court decision comes into force, they are returned to the owners or those for whom the court recognized the right to these things (Article 76 of the Code of Civil Procedure). In addition, the civil process provides, first, a wide range of derivative means of proof and, secondly, on-site inspection of things that can not be brought to court. Instead of genuine things, photos, drawings, descriptions, audio and video recordings, drawings, casts, experimental samples, etc. can be presented to the court session. Practically there are no restrictions on secondary information replacing the original material evidence.
As explained in the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the United States No. 13, the examination of the physical evidence on the spot is carried out by the court with the notice of the persons participating in the case, both in the preparation stage of the case for the proceedings (clause 10, part 1, article 150 of the CCP), so and in the court proceedings (Article 183 of the CCP). In the court session, interested persons have the right to give explanations and draw the court's attention to certain parties, the properties of the things inspected. The court maintains a record, drawings, diagrams, drawings, photographs, etc. can be drawn up. The need for examination by the court arises, in particular, in cases of quick damage to things that, after investigation by the court, are returned to the person who submitted evidence for inspection purposes, or are transferred to organizations for use in accordance with their purpose. In the latter case, items of the same kind and quality or their value can be returned to the owner of the material evidence (Article 75 of the CCP).
Material evidence must go to court from parties and other persons participating in the case. In case of difficulty, the judge shall have the right to issue a request to the person requesting the retrieval of material evidence for the right to receive it for subsequent submission to the court. Article 57 of the Civil Procedural Code specifies in detail the procedure for demanding and presenting, including material evidence. The legal sanction for non-presentation of material evidence is similar to the one that acts for evading the submission of written evidence and is expressed in the application of a legal fiction (Part 1, Article 68 of the CCP), which enables the court to substantiate its conclusions with explanations of the other party to a legal conflict.< center>
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