Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- ANSWER is also the name of an anti-war protest group
In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. It may have been preceded by an optional "pre-answer" motion to dismiss or 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 action in 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 the case of a criminal case there is usually an arraignment or 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 either guilty or not guilty. Generally speaking in private, civil cases there is no guilt or innocence. There is only a judgment that grants money damages or some other kind of equitable remedy such as restitution or an injunction. Criminal cases may lead to fines or other punishment, such as imprisonment.
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