In legal terms, prima facie is a Latin phrase that means “on its face” or “at first glance.” In the context of a legal case, it is used to describe evidence that, if true, would be sufficient to establish a fact or prove an element of a legal claim without the need for further evidence.
A prima facie case is one where the plaintiff has presented enough evidence to satisfy the burden of proof and establish a case that would entitle them to judgment in their favor. It means that the case has been made out on its face and the burden of proof then shifts to the defendant to disprove the claim.
For example, in a discrimination case, if an employee can present evidence that they were qualified for a job, but were not hired because of their race, this would be a prima facie case of discrimination. The employer would then have to provide a non-discriminatory reason for not hiring the employee to refute the claim.
It is important to note that a prima facie case is not the same as a winning case, a prima facie case only means that the evidence presented is sufficient to meet the burden of proof for that particular element of the claim and that the opposing party has the opportunity to refute it.