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The defendant's answer by matter of fact, to the plaintiff's declaration. It is distinguished from a demurrer, which opposes matter of law to the declaration. Pleas are divided into plea dilatory and peremptory; and this is the most general division to which they are subject. Subordinate to this is another division; they are either to the jurisdiction of the court, in suspension of the action; in abatement of the writ; or, in bar of the action; the first three of which belong to the dilatory class, the last is of the peremptory kind.


Plea, in its ancient sense, means suit or action, and it is sometimes still used in that sense; for example, A B was summoned to answer C D of a plea that he render, &c. This variable word, to plead, has still another and more popular use, importing forensic argument in a cause, but it is not so employed by the profession. There are various sorts of pleas, the principal of which are given below. Plea in abatement, is when, for any default, the defendant prays that the writ or plaint do abate, that is, cease against him for that time. Hence it may be ...

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