Pleading in equity. A defence in writing made by a defendant, to the charges contained in a bill or information, filed by the plaintiff against him in a court of equity
. The word answer involves a double sense; it is one thing when it simply replies to a question, another when it meets a charge; the answer in equity includes both senses, and may be divided into an examination and a defence. In that part which consists of an examination, a direct andfull answer, or reply, must in general be given to every question asked. In that part which consists of a defence, the defendant must state his, case distinctly; but is not required to give information respecting the proofs that are to maintain it. Gresl . Eq. Ev. 19.
2. As a defendant is called by a bill or information to make a discovery of the several cbarges it contains, he must do so, unless he is protected either by a demurrer a plea or disclaimer. It may be laid down as an invariable rule, that whatever part of a bill or information is not covered by one of these, must be defended by answer. Redesd. Tr. Ch. PI. 244.
3. In form, it usually begins, 1st, with its title, specifying which of the defendants it is the answer of, and the names of the plaintiffs in the cause in which it is filed as answer; 2d, it reserves to the defendant all the advantages which might be taken by exception to the bill; 3d, the substance of the answer, according to the defendant's knowledge, remembrance, information and belief, then follows, in which the matter of the bill, with the interrogatories founded thereon, are answered, one after the other, together with such additional matter as the defendant thinks necessary to bring forward in his, defence, either for the purpose of qualifying, or adding to, the case made
by the bill, or to state a new case on his own behalf; 4th, this is followed by a general traverse or denial of all unlawful combinations charged in the bill, and of all other matters therein contained 5th, the answer is always upon oath or affirmation, except in the case of a corporation, in which case it is under the corporate seal
4. In substance, the answer ought to contain, 1st, a statement of facts and not arguments 2d, a confession and avoidance
, or traverse and denial of the material parts of the bill 3d, its language ought to be direct and without evasion. Vide generally as to answers, Redes. Tr. Ch. PI. 244 to 254; Coop. Pl. Eq. 312 to 327; Beames PI. Eq. 34 et seq.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t. For an historical account of this instrument, see 2 Bro. Civ. Law, 371, n. and Barton
's Hist. Treatise
of a Suit in Equity