This paper aimed at examining definition of document and record in the law of evidence in different jurisdictions. This is due to the fact that the meaning of document and record as regards to their uses in legal matters has remained contentious in different jurisdictions. The paper has made a comparative analysis of definition of document with the aim of coming with the definition that is comprehensive enough to cover the further development of technology. Moreover, the study aimed at discussing the application of document in the court proceedings.
This paper has used descriptive study design. Empirical comparative analysis method has been employed by analysing definition of document as enshrined in different legislations of different countries and their application in court proceedings. The surveyed countries include Tanzania, Canada, US and Australia. The criteria for selection of countries involved in this study were based on convenience and availability of information needed. This study employed empirical juridical approach. Different court decision were obtained and examined. With the use of this study design, the paper has been able to meet its objectives. In general, the study used both purposive (probability) and judgement (non probability\) sampling design technique
This paper has found that there is a need of having a comprehensive definition of document and record that accommodates even further technological development. This reduces unnecessary amendments in the future. It was found vital to retain the dichotomy between public and private documents as regards to their admissibility to the court proceedings. It was further observed that the business documents be admissible in the same way as are public documents but their admissibility must be compounded by procedural guidance.
This study is important as it alerts the government on the need of having extensive and wide definitions of document that will be comprehensive and future orientated. Through this study, the government will observe the importance of treating the public document and private document differently in judicial proceedings. Finally, it is expected that, this study can be used by other countries to modify their internal legislations as regard to legal definition of document and record and their admissibility in legal proceedings respectively..