A formal declaration, complaint, or statement of particular things in writing. As a legal term, this word has many meanings and applications, the more important of which are enumerated below. 1. A formal written statement of complaint to a court of justice. In the ancient practice of the court of king’s bench, the usual and orderly method of beginning an action was by a bill, or original bill, or plaint. This was a written statement of the plaintiff’s cause of action, like a declaration or complaint, and always alleged a trespass as the ground of it, in order to give the court jurisdiction. 3 Bl. Comm. 43. In Scotch law, every summary application in writing, by way of petition to the Court of Session, is called a “bill.” Cent. Diet.
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