Corroborating evidence

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Corroborating evidence (in "corroboration") is evidence that tends to support a proposition that is already supported by some initial evidence, therefore confirming the proposition. For example, W, a witness, testifies that she saw X drive his automobile into a green car. Meanwhile Y, another witness, testifies that when he examined X's car, later that day, he noticed green paint on its fender. There can also be corroborating evidence related to a certain source, such as what makes an author think a certain way due to the evidence that was supplied by witnesses or objects.

For more information on this type of reasoning, see: Casuistry.

Another type of corroborating evidence comes from using the Baconian method, i.e. the method of agreement, method of difference, and method of concomitant variations.

These methods are followed in experimental design. They were codified by Francis Bacon, and developed further by John Stuart Mill and consist of controlling several variables, in turn, to establish which variables are causally connected. These principles are widely used intuitively in various kinds of proofs, demonstrations and investigations, in addition to being fundamental to experimental design.

In law, corroboration refers to the requirement in some jurisdictions, such as in Scotland, that any evidence adduced be backed up by at least one other source (see Corroboration in Scots law).

Corroboration broken down

If one person says, “this is what I intended by the action I took,” and his friend agrees that his actions could have looked like what their friend intended. Then it can be generally agreed that is what happened.

If one person says, “this is what I meant by what I said,” and his friend agrees that was their understanding of what was meant by their friend. Then it can be generally agreed that is what was meant.

Think of this like backing up your mate in the playground no matter what they did or said.

An example of corroboration

First person walks in turns and looks back the way they had come; this allows a person to say I had a clear view of another person that enters later. Second person walks in and on some pretext starts shouting, suddenly raising arms in the air and shaking them, who notices if fists are open or closed when the eye is on the action of the arm; this can look threatening and causes added stress in already tense circumstances. This can provoke an already bad situation into violence and can be used when people need to justify their actions or their presence. We made a mistake but look what happened someone was assaulted. Later it can be said I had a clear view of the other person and my friend raised their arms in supplication or in surrender and can demonstrate this with arms raised slowly, hands open and palms out. This involves two people, is premeditated, threatening, causes fear and alarm and is also used to make corroboration work against anyone. Common line afterward whether you were baited or goaded you still did it. This works well if both people have authority and in a position where they are commonly accepted to be of good character. There is other variations on this and is often used to provoke criminal action where there has been no other disorderly conduct but.

Corroboration is not needed in certain instances. For example, there are certain statutory exceptions. In the Education (Scotland) Act, it is only necessary to produce a register as proof of lack of attendance. No further evidence is needed.

England and Wales


See section 13 of the Perjury Act 1911.

Speeding offences

See section 89(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Sexual offences

See section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Confessions by mentally handicapped persons

See section 77 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Evidence of children

See section 34 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Evidence of accomplices

See section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.


Plutchik, Robert (1983) Foundations of Experimental Research Harper's Experimental Psychology Series.