Abatement in pleading

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At common law an abatement in pleading or plea in abatement was a defence to legal proceedings which did not contest the principle of the plaintiff's right to relief but contended that the plaintiff had made a procedural error and needed to bring fresh proceedings which followed the correct procedure. The objection could deal with, among others, place, time, or method of assertion.[1][2]

Successful assertion of pleas in abatement, merely pause proceedings until the problem is remedied.[2] There were two fundamental styles of abatement. The first was abatement in proceedings which would merely suspend the proceeding until the error was fixed. Abatement in law would terminate it completely, although it could be restarted at the plaintiff's request. The second term is more common.[1] It has now been abolished in most if not all common law jurisdictions.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Hoiberg 1993, pp. 7–8
  2. ^ a b Garner et al. 1999, p. 1172


  • Garner, Bryan A.; Schultz, David W.; Cooper, Lance A.; Powell, Elizabeth C., eds. (1999) [1891]. "plea in abatement". Black's Law Dictionary (7th ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Group. ISBN 0-314-22864-0. 
  • Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (1993). "abatement". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ISBN 0-85229-961-3. LCCN 2002113989.