The Evolution and Development Trend of the American Federal Rules of Evidence – Inspiration for China's Evidence Legislation

  •  Bo Peng    


It has been nearly 50 years since the promulgation of the Federal Rules of Evidence in 1975. What changes have taken place in the Federal Rules of Evidence for a long time? For the evidence legislation in China, it is a very noteworthy issue. Through historical analysis and comparative research, we can find that the development of the Federal Rules of Evidence can be roughly divided into two stages: the first is the exploratory stage, during which the Federal Rules of Evidence were neglected and Congress continued to be actively involved. The second is the rapid development stage, during which the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence were established and the number and quality of revisions steadily increased. The following major trends can be seen in the development of the Federal Rules of Evidence: Congress was replaced as the primary body responsible for updating the Federal Rules of Evidence by a special Advisory Committee on the rules of Evidence; the Rules of Evidence's form changed from fragmented common law to systematic codification; the exclusionary rule's scope of exceptions and judges' discretion gradually expanded; the level of procedural safeguards increased; and the Rules of Evidence were influenced by the development of electronic evidence and the Internet. For the development of China's evidence law, what can be inspired is that we need to systematize and codify the evidence rules, establish a special evidence law committee, strengthen the procedural guarantee, and pay attention to the evidence rules in the digital age.

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