PLEADINGS. In Chancery Practice. The written allegations of the respective parties in the suit. The pleadings in equity are less formal than those at common law.
The parts of the pleadings are—the bill, which contains the plaintiff's statement of his case, or information, where the suit is brought by a public officer in behalf of the sovereign ; the demurrer, by which the de fendant demands judgment of the court, whether he shall be compelled to answer the bill or not; the plea, whereby he shows some cause why the suit should be dismissed or barred; the answer, which, controverting the case stated by the bill, confesses and avoids it; or traverses and denies the ma terial allegations in the bill, or, admitting the case made by the bill, submits to the judgment of the court upon it, or relies up on a new case or upon new matter stated in the answer, or upon both ; disclaimer, which seeks at once a termination of the suit by the defendants, disclaiming all right and in terest in the matter sought by the bill; Story, Eq. Pl. § 546; Mitf. Eq. Pl. by Jer. 13, 100; Cooper, Eq. P1. 108; Ocean Ins: Co. v. Fields, 2 Sto. 59, Fed. Cas. No. 10,406: In Common Law Practice. The statements of the parties, in legal and proper manner, of the causes of action and grounds of defence. The result of pleading. They were formerly made by the parties or their counsel, orally, in open court, under the control of the judge. They were then called the parole; 3 .Bla. Cora. 293.
The parts of the pleadings may be arrang ed under two heads: The regular, which occur in the ordinary course of a suit; and the irregular or collateral, which are occa sioned by errors in the pleadings on the other side.
The regular parts are—the declaration or count; the plea, which is either to the juris diction of the court, or suspending the ac tion, as in the case of a parol demurrer, or in abatement, or in bar of the action, or in replevin, an avowry or cognizance ; the repli cation, and, in case of an evasive plea, a new assigmment, or, in replevin, the plea in bar to the avowry or cognizance; the re joinder, or, in replevin, the replication to the plea in bar ; the sur-rejoinder, being in replevin the rejoinder ; the rebutter; the sur rebutter; Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleading (C) ; Bac. Abr. Pleas and Pleadings (A) ; pleas puis darrein continuance, when the matter of defence arises pending the suit.
The irregular or collateral parts of plead ing are stated to be—demurrers to any part of the pleadings above mentioned; demurrers to evidence given at trials; bills of excep tions; pleas in scire faeias; and pleas in error. Viner, Abr. Pleas and Pleadings (C).
In Admiralty, the proceedings might go on, by turns, as long as the mode of pleadings require it. The successive pleadings, after the replication, were called duplication, triplication, and quadruplication, and so on ; but they are now obsolete; Bened. Adm. § 482.
In Criminal Practice, the pleadings are— first, the indictment; second, the plea; and the other pleadings as in civil practice.