- The definition of prima facie refers to the way something looks on its face, or at first glance.
An example of prima facie is when a wife walks in on her husband with another woman; at first glance, it looks as if he is guilty of something just because of the circumstances.
- Prima facie is defined as something that has been proven or assumed to be true unless there is evidence presented to the contrary.
An example of prima face is when a plaintiff in a discrimination case shows that a pre-employment test has a unfair impact on minorities. This can be said to be a prima face case of discrimination unless the employer can then prove that the test is legitimate for work related purposes.
- at first sight; on first view, before further examination
- based on a first impression
Origin of prima facieClassical Latin
Origin of prima facieMiddle English, manifestly, from Latin prīmā faciē : prīmā, feminine ablative of prīmus, first + faciē, ablative of faciēs, shape, face.
(comparative more prima facie, superlative most prima facie)
- (law) at first sight; on the face of it
In common usage, often used to mean that the conclusion is obvious. In more narrow legal usage, it means rather that there is a case to answer - that the question is clear, but the conclusion is not necessarily obvious - with an obvious conclusion rather being referred to as res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself"). However, res ipsa loquitur is rarely used in common speech, instead referred to as an open and shut case. See prima facie: res ipsa loquitur and res ipsa loquitur: contrast to prima facie for details.
prima facie - Legal Definition