1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Demurrer

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DEMURRER (from Fr. demeurer, to delay, Lat. morari), in English law, an objection taken to the sufficiency, in point of law, of the pleading or written statement of the other side. In equity pleading a demurrer lay only against the bill, and not against the answer; at common law any part of the pleading could be demurred to. On the passing of the Judicature Act of 1875 the procedure with respect to demurrers in civil cases was amended, and, subsequently, by the Rules of the Supreme Court, Order XXV. demurrers were abolished and a more summary process for getting rid of pleadings which showed no reasonable cause of action or defence was adopted, called proceedings in lieu of demurrer. Demurrer in criminal cases still exists, but is now seldom resorted to. Demurrers are still in constant use in the United States. See Answer; Pleading.