An answer was originally a solemn assertion in opposition to some one or something, and thus generally any counter-statement or defense, a reply to a question or objection, or a correct solution of a problem. [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Answer Answer - LoveToKnow 1911 ] ] In the
common law, an answer is the first pleadingby a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiffwithin a certain strict time limit after a civil complaintor criminal informationor indictmenthas been served upon the defendant. It may have been preceded by an "optional" "pre-answer" motion to dismissor demurrer; if such a motion is unsuccessful, the defendant "must" file an answer to the complaint or risk an adverse default judgment.
The "answer" establishes which allegations (
cause of actionin civil matters) set forth by the complaining party will be contested by the defendant, and states all the defendant's defenses, thus establishing the nature and parameters of the controversy to be decided by the court.
In a criminal case, there is usually an
arraignmentor some other kind of appearance before the court by the defendant. The pleading in the criminal case, which is entered on the record in open court, is usually either guilty or not guilty. Generally speaking in private, civil cases there is no plea entered of guilt or innocence. There is only a judgment that grants money damages or some other kind of equitable remedysuch as restitutionor a permanent injunction. Criminal cases may lead to fines or other punishment, such as imprisonment.Fact|date=May 2008
The famous Latin "Responsa Prudentium" ("answers of the learned ones") were the accumulated views of many successive generations of Roman lawyers, a body of legal opinion which gradually became authoritative.
Generally, an answer is a reply to a question or is a solution, a retaliation, or a response. [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/answer]
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