Documentary evidence is any evidence presented at a trial in the form of documents. It is presented for the judge and members of the jury for their inspection. This type of evidence does not only include written documents such as invoice or contract; it also involves photographs, films, printed e-mails and other forms of media that can be preserved. Documentary evidence is not always conclusive unless it is supported by other evidence. When a lawyer wishes to present documentary evidence, the counter lawyer has the right to request the subject for authentication and examination. Sometimes it is relatively easy to authenticate documentary evidence, for example, when there is handwritten evidence, a witness must testify and verify that it is the handwriting of the said author. Just like any other evidence, documentary evidence must be significant to the case.
A piece of evidence is not documentary evidence unless it is relevant to the case. If a piece of paper is presented only because it was there at the scene of the crime, then it cannot be considered as a relevant evidence, the piece of paper should have been the reason why the crime is committed in order for it to be a documentary evidence. If evidence is presented for some purpose other than the assessment of the contents of the document, then it will not be considered. Documentary evidence, just like any other evidence, must be very direct in some cases, while in others it can be more complex. There must be a reason why certain evidence is being shown in court.