I've searched online for this, to no avail. In a dispute where attorneys are involved on one or both sides, what is an attorney signalling, in terms of legal strategy (i.e. beyond the literal meaning of "unsubstantiated"), in using the phrase "no reason to believe", particularly in the face of overwhelming substantiating evidence, as in the following example:

"We have no reason to believe that the allegations presented here are true."

  • "reason to believe" appears to be (but correct me if I'm wrong) synonymous with "probable cause" (US v. Gorman, 314 F. 3d 1105 (2002)), and, as such, is used as a legal standard of proof, in the same way as, but at a different degree than, for example, a "preponderance of the evidence," or "reasonable suspicion". So, it seems that the question hinges on the standard of "reasonableness" that would allow or disallow someone to establish a "reason to believe"... – user913304 Jul 26 '16 at 5:51

Caveat: I am not a lawyer. It seems to me that the attorney using the phrase, "We have no reason to believe that the allegations presented here are true," is not only saying that the allegations are not true, but that all the evidence supporting the allegations are not true. Of course one has to allow for the possibility that the attorney using the phrase "no reason to believe," may have been doing so more as a hackneyed phrase, trying to give his position emphasis, rather than as part of a statement of logic in which reasons [i.e., evidence] support conclusions [i.e., allegations]. JMHO

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    If, instead of "not only saying", you had put "not saying" I would have upvoted. (The law is keen on precise wording). – Tim Lymington Nov 30 '18 at 10:35

That phrase does not signal anything strategic beyond the obvious: an intent to dispute the allegations.

Although the existence of the suggests that there is probably some reason to believe the allegations, the phrase is being used nearly literally.

  • There may be some reason, as you say, but the person asserting there's no reason is signaling an intention to show that the purported reason is unfounded. – phoog Nov 30 '18 at 2:41
  • Is that a restatement of my first sentence or an amplification of some sort? – bdb484 Nov 30 '18 at 2:56
  • Good question. It was a response to the second sentence, so I guess an attempt to relate the two sentences to one another. I suppose I am a little confused about whether we're necessarily discussing "we have no reason to believe" only, or if "there is no reason to believe" is also on the table. – phoog Nov 30 '18 at 3:09

If you use the phrase "I have no reason to believe ..." In the face of any evidence that should give you a reason to believe this is known in law, as in general life, as a "lie".

However, what is compelling evidence to you may not be compelling to someone else with whom you have a dispute (or indeed, an arbitrator). Never overlook the possibility that you could be dead wrong.

Of course, the specific quote given, may be a concession that some of the allegations are true: just not all of them.

  • Assume that the evidence is not only substantive and overwhelming, but also objectively accurate. What would the interpretation be under those circumstances? – user913304 Jul 23 '16 at 23:05
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    @user913304 it could be that the person disputes the legal analysis, or has additional evidence that is substantive, overwhelming, and objectively accurate. For example, if the prosecutor presents incontrovertible evidence that shot someone through the heart, but B has incontrovertible evidence that A acted in self-defense, it would not be unreasonable for B to say that B has no reason to believe that A committed murder. – phoog Nov 30 '18 at 2:57

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