Any attempt to define a legal concept makes advisable an inquiry into its origin and evolution. If it be a substantive law concept, the social purpose that is designed to serve—whether the avoidance of evils or the creation or furtherance of positive benefits—must be considered. If it be a concept of procedural law, the functions it is, or is thought to be, designed to perform in the process of reaching the factual and legal bases for satisfactory determination of disputes between litigants must be examined. It is proposed, therefore, first to look briefly at the causes which brought the hearsay rule into being, next to consider the dangers in testimony that it is designed to eliminate or limit, then to discuss the commnonly accepted statements, and finally to suggest a revised definition.
Edmund M. Morgan,
The Hearsay Rule,
12 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol12/iss1/2