Dossier: Definition and Meaning

In the field of law, every single case, whether it is criminal case or civil case, needs a well-organized and meaningful documents through which a case can be presented in the court convincingly. And, this is the mandatory requirement of the court. So, such type of document presenting an organized information on one subject matter commonly characterized as dossier.

What Exactly the Term Dossier Defines?

In law, a dossier refers to a collection of documents or information compiled for a specific purpose, such as a legal case or investigation. It may include various types of evidence, such as witness statements, photographs, and other relevant materials. Dossiers are often used in criminal investigations and legal proceedings to present information to a court or other decision-making body.

Specific Use of Dossier

There are −

  • Farewell Dossier: it was the document that a KGB defector gave to the French DST in 1981–82.

  • Iraq Dossier: It was a briefing document for the British Labour Party government in respect to Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction.

  • September Dossier: It is a document published by the British government on September 24, 2002 in respect to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

  • Steele Dossier: It is a dossier containing allegations of a conspiracy between Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government. It is also popular as the "Trump–Russia dossier."

  • Dossier Criminal: It is a term used by Indian police forces to classify criminals.

  • Global Dossier: It is an online public service launched in June 2014 by the five Intellectual Property offices.

Dossier in Indian Context

In India, the term Dossier Criminal is used in the Indian police forces, for classifying the criminals. According to the Indian police forces, a dossier criminal is a person who has committed specific crimes across police circles and sub-divisions. The criminal dossier if a format, where all the detailed information about a criminal is restored.

Importance of Dossier

In legal proceedings, a dossier is an important tool, as it provides a comprehensive and organized overview of the evidence and information related to a case. It helps to ensure that all relevant information is presented to the court or decision-making body and can be used to support or refute arguments made by the parties involved. Additionally, dossiers can be used to help lawyers and other legal professionals prepare for trial, by allowing them to review the evidence and develop their arguments in advance. It also can be used by investigators to collect evidence for further investigation and to identify new leads or suspects. Overall, a well-prepared dossier can be crucial in ensuring that a case is fairly and accurately decided.


Moreover, a dossier, in a common language, is a collection of documents or information, researched, collected, analyzed, and systematically compiled for a specific purpose, such as a legal case or investigation. Dossiers are commonly used in criminal matters and their investigations and legal proceedings to present information to a court or other such decision-making body. It is major tool in the hands of prosecution as well as defence, as both prepared their parts to give advantage to their clients through such dossiers. Likewise, dossier includes different types of evidence, such as details of the fact, witness statements, photographs, and other relevant evidence.


Q1. What are the components of dossier?

Ans. Depending upon the types of document, purpose, and context, the components of a dossier can vary. However, some common types of materials that may be included in a dossier include:

  • Facts of the case: Prima facie, a dossier contains the facts of the case and then supporting documents.

  • Victims and witness statements: These are written or recorded statements from individuals who have relevant information about the case.

  • Photographs and other visual evidence: This can include crime scene photos, video footage, or other images that help to illustrate the events in question.

  • Medical and forensic reports: These can include reports from medical experts or forensic scientists that provide information about the cause of death or injuries, or that help to identify suspects or victims.

  • Legal and investigative documents: This can include police reports, arrest records, search warrants, and other documents that are related to the investigation or legal proceedings.

  • Expert opinions: This can include written or oral testimony from experts in various fields, such as DNA analysis, or psychology, or any such expert’s statements who is relevant to the case that help to explain complex technical or scientific concepts.

  • Historical records: This can include prior criminal records, previous court records and other records that can be used to establish the background of a suspect or witness.

Q2. What is a Dossier Analysis?

Ans. Dossier analysis usually refers to the process of reviewing, evaluating, and interpreting the information and evidence contained in a dossier. The goal of dossier analysis is to identify important patterns, connections, and trends that can help to understand the case or investigation thoroughly and in detail.

Q3. Who can perform Dossier Analysis?

Ans. Dossier analysis generally can be done by investigators, legal professionals, or experts in various fields; however, it depends on the nature of the case. Likewise, it can involve reviewing witness statements, photographs, physical evidence, medical and forensic reports, legal and investigative documents, and other materials included in the dossier.

Q4. What are the Techniques of Dossier Analysis?

Ans. Dossier analysis technique usually includes data analysis, pattern recognition, and logical reasoning to identify important information or inconsistencies in the evidence. The outcome of the analysis can be used to identify suspects, reconstruct events, establish motive, and build a case for prosecution or defense.

Q5. What is the purpose of a Dossier Analysis?

Ans. Prima facie, the purpose of dossier analysis is to extract the most relevant and important information from the large amount of data that is collected and to use it to support the investigation or legal proceedings especially inside the court.