Alternative Pleading Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Alternative Pleading, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Alternative Pleading?

v. to arraign is to call the defendant to the court after filing of charges against him and before any legal procedure is commenced in the case. He is given a copy of indicment and told the charges brought against him and is supposed to either confess or plead not guilty, though other peremptory pleas can also be made by him.

History and Meaning of Alternative Pleading

Alternative pleading is a legal term that refers to the presentation of two or more alternative claims or defenses to a court by a plaintiff or defendant. This is a practice followed in common law legal systems, allowing the plaintiff or defendant to assert multiple claims or defenses relating to the same issue. The practice has a long history in the legal system, dating back to the early centuries when it was first introduced as a way to prevent and avoid legal disputes between parties.

Alternative pleading is useful because it allows parties to anticipate and prepare a case more efficiently, reducing the time and resources used in legal battles. In modern times, alternative pleading has become increasingly common, especially in civil cases where it is used to account for situations where a party is not sure which of their claims or defenses will be successful in court.

Examples of Alternative Pleading

  1. A plaintiff in a personal injury case might present alternative pleadings, arguing that the defendant either caused the injury deliberately or was negligent in their actions.

  2. A defendant in a criminal case may present alternative pleadings, arguing that they did not commit the crime or that, if they did, they did so in self-defense.

  3. A company may present alternative pleadings in a product liability case, claiming that either the product was safe and did not cause any harm, or that the plaintiff was responsible for the injury by misusing the product.

Legal Terms Similar to Alternative Pleading

  1. Election of remedies - a legal doctrine that requires a plaintiff to choose between two or more legal remedies available for the same harm.

  2. Double pleading - a situation where a party pleads two different and inconsistent defenses; not to be confused with alternative pleading, which involves pleading different possible claims or defenses.

  3. Inconsistent pleading - the presentation of two or more claims or defenses that are inconsistent with each other.