Demurrer

Summary

English common law courts developed a complex process of pleading in civil suits that required the parties to file a series of legal documents, or pleadings, in order to define the dispute precisely. Courts in England’s American colonies and, later, in the United States adopted this pleading system. The plaintiff initiated the process by filing the declaration, which outlined the cause of action. The defendant responded to the declaration in a plea. The plaintiff, in turn, filed a replication. At any point during this process, the opposing party could file an objection known as a demurrer, which stated that either the substance or the form of the opposing party’s pleading was insufficient in law and did not require a response.

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