The peculiar science or system of rules and principles, established in the common law, according to which the pleadings or responsive allegations of litigating parties are framed, with a view to preserve technical propriety and to produce a proper issue. The process performed by the parties to a suit or action, in alternately presenting written statements of their contention, each responsive to that which precedes, and each serving to narrow the field of controversy, until there evolves a single point, affirmed on one side and denied on the other, called the “issue,” upon which they then go to trial. The act or step of interposing any one of the pleadings in a cause, but particularly one on the part of the defendant; and, in the strictest sense, one which sets up allegations of fact in defense to the action. The name “a pleading” is also given to any one of the formal written statements of accusation or defense presented by the parties alternately in an action at law; the aggregate of such statements filed in any one cause are termed “the pleadings.” The oral advocacy of a client’s cause in court, by his barrister or counsel, is sometimes called “pleading;” but this is a popular, rather than technical, use. In chancery practice. Consists In making the formal written allegations or statements of the respective parties on the record to maintain the suit, or to defeat it, of which, when contested in matters of fact, they propose to offer proofs, and in matters of law to offer arguments to the court. Story, Eq. PI.
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