Rule 1007 – Testimony or Statement of a Party to Prove Content

The proponent may prove the content of a writing, recording, or photograph by the testimony, deposition, or written statement of the party against whom the evidence is offered. The proponent need not account for the original.

Summary and Explanation

Federal Rule of Evidence 1007 addresses the admissibility of evidence about the contents of a document. Here’s a summary and explanation:

Content of the Rule: Rule 1007 states that the contents of a document can be proved by the testimony, deposition, or written statement of the party against whom it is offered, even if the original or a duplicate is available.

Purpose and Application:

  • Flexibility in Evidence: This rule provides flexibility by allowing a party to use statements from the opposing party as evidence of a document’s contents.
  • Efficiency: It streamlines the process by not requiring the original document when the party against whom the document would be used has already made a statement about its contents.


  • Applicable to cases where a party has already acknowledged the contents of a document, thereby eliminating the need to present the actual document.
  • Includes oral statements, depositions, or any form of written acknowledgment by the party.

In essence, Rule 1007 allows for a practical and efficient approach to proving the contents of a document. It recognizes that if a party has already made a statement about a document’s contents, the necessity of presenting the actual document can be waived. This rule simplifies the evidentiary process and aids in the smoother conduct of legal proceedings.


(Pub. L. 93–595, §1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1947; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Oct. 1, 1987; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Proposed Rules

While the parent case, Slatterie v. Pooley, 6 M. & W. 664, 151 Eng. Rep. 579 (Exch. 1840), allows proof of contents by evidence of an oral admission by the party against whom offered, without accounting for nonproduction of the original, the risk of inaccuracy is substantial and the decision is at odds with the purpose of the rule giving preference to the original. See 4 Wigmore §1255. The instant rule follows Professor McCormick’s suggestion of limiting this use of admissions to those made in the course of giving testimony or in writing. McCormick §208, p. 424. The limitation, of course, does not call for excluding evidence of an oral admission when nonproduction of the original has been accounted for and secondary evidence generally has become admissible. Rule 1004, supra.

A similar provision is contained in New Jersey Evidence Rule 70(1)(h).

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1987 Amendment

The amendment is technical. No substantive change is intended.

Committee Notes on Rules—2011 Amendment

The language of Rule 1007 has been amended as part of the restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.

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