For example, the requirements for "negligence" are: 1. Defendant owed plaintiff some type of legal duty under the circumstances; 2. Defendant breached his or her duty; 3. Plaintiff suffered damaged; and 4. Defendant's breach is what caused the plaintiff to be damaged.
So "negligence" requires four elements. If the party with the burden of proof fails to satisfy even one of the required elements, that party failed to make out a "prima facie" case, and the case will be dismissed even before there is a trial on the matter. On the other hand, if the party with the burden of proof does satisfactorily make out a "prima facie" case, the burden of proof then shifts to the other party or parties, to either present evidence to rebut what the first party has claimed, or to raise any affirmative defenses which may be raised.
"Prima Facie" translates to: "at first sight" or "at first face."
Note that In criminal cases, before the defendant is placed on trial, there is a pre-trial to see if there is enough evidence to merit a trial. A special jury known as a "grand jury" is empaneled for this purpose. In these proceedings, all the prosecutor needs to do is make out a prima facie case. Assuming that can be done, the accused will be indicted, and the trial will be scheduled.