The Reply

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Curtailing the Pleadings. The common-law system of pleading contemplated successive pleadings in alternation by each party until an issue was reached upon which one party assumed the affirmative and the other party the negative. This process was to be followed no matter what time was thereby consumed. Under the code system of pleading, however, the purpose is not so much to obtain a narrow issue, as to have each party's view of the facts on record as concisely and as quickly as possible. This difference in purpose led to a striking difference in attitude towards the reply to the answer under the two systems. At common law the replication was a necessary part of the hierarchy of pleadings whenever the plea contained matter in confession and avoidance, i.e., new matter. It was, however, but one of a series of pleadings and might be followed in turn by the rejoinder, the surrejoinder, the rebutter, the surrebutter and further pleadings, if necessary. The plan of the code, on the other hand, was to cut off the 1leadings quite sharply at the reply or before.Under the original code, the plaintiff might reply to new matter; but under many modern codes the reply either is not available or is available only in a limited class of cases. The result is that the issue is more quickly arrived at under the codes, but it is presumably a broader and more general one.

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The Reply, 1 Southern California Law Review 116 (1928)

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