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The Complaint in Code Pleading, 35 Yale Law Journal 259 (1926)

Abstract

One of the most important changes of the New York Code of Pleading and Practice of 1848, so at least the code makers believed, was to be found in the requirement that there should be stated "in ordinary and concise language" the facts constituting each cause of action or defense. It is true that the common law declaration contained allegations which set forth the pleader's cause in a general way at least; but the emphasis under the common law system of pleading was placed, not so much on getting the facts on record, but rather upon forcing the opposing parties by their successive pleadings to arrive at a single definite issue. In accordance with the natural tendency of all procedural processes towards standardization and formalism, common law pleading had come in large measure to consist of formal general statements which did not set forth the details of the pleader's case. The codifiers considered this to be a real and serious defect, and they termed their cure for it "the key of the reform" they were advocating. Elsewhere in their code they adapted the existing equity practice to their purpose. In equity pleading very great detail of the kind termed "evidence" was incorporated in the pleadings, due in part to the rules whereby the plaintiff might force the defendant to a discovery of his proof in his answer, and in part to the general requirement of equity that all the evidence must be made a matter of record. The codifiers concluded that for the blended system they proposed, the evidential facts should be omitted, the ultimate facts, rather than the legal conclusions, should be stated, and the pleadings should not go on until a single formal issue was reached, but should terminate in any event with the reply.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1926

Keywords

The Complaint in Code Pleading, 35 Yale Law Journal 259 (1926)

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