Bankruptcy law is federal law and thus, the Federal Rules of Evidence apply in bankruptcy proceedings. When parties want evidence to be admitted in a bankruptcy case the court requires it to be relevant and authenticated. However, most practitioners may not have paid much attention in evidence class to effectively lay a proper foundation for admitting their evidence.
I recommend, Evidentiary Foundations by Edward J. Imwinkleried as a valuable tool for every bankruptcy attorney. Before evidence will be admitted in a matter before a federal court, a proper foundation must be laid. This means that the evidence must be authenticated and shown to be the ‘real deal.’ Authentication is governed primarily by Fed. R. Evid. 901 and 902. When a proper foundation for an exhibit has been laid, the party has essentially established that piece of evidence is both relevant to the proceeding before the court and is reliable.
So, the next time you’re looking to determine whether or not a creditor has filed a proper claim, look to the rules of evidence to determine whether their claim is the real deal.
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