Rule 2– One Form of Action

“There is one form of action— the civil action.”

Go to Rule 3 , or learn more about Rule 2:

Related Definitions:

Definition of FORM OF ACTION:

“(17c.) The Common-law legal & procedural device associated with a particular writ, each of which had specific forms of process, pleading, trial, & judgment. The 11 common-law forms of action were trespass, trespass on the case, trover, ejectment, detinue, replevin, debt, covenant, account, special assumpsit, & general assumpsit.”[1]

    The following excerpt from  Handbook of Common-Law Pleading” by Benjamin J. Shipman provides historical & legal insight into how Forms of Action were traditionally used- the more modern “Civil Action” has greatly simplified this once complex system:

    “Forms of action are usually regarded as different method of procedure adapted to cases of different kinds, but in fact the choice between forms of action is primarily a choice between different theories of substantive liability, & the scope of the actions measures the existence & the extent of the liability at common law…. The development & extension of the different forms of action is the history of the recognition of rights & liability in the law of the torts, contracts, & property, & the essentials of rights of action.

Learn all about The 11 Common Law Forms of Action that were historically.  Today, these have been simplified into the “Civil Action”.  (“Civilian Action”)

Definition of CIVIL ACTION:

An action brought to enforce, redress, or protect a private or civil right; a noncriminal litigation. Also termed (if brought by a private person) private action; (if brought by a government) public action.

     The following excerpt from Edwin E. Bryant’s The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure provides historic & legal insight into Civil Actions:

    “The code of New York, as originally adopted, declared, ‘the distinctions between actions at law & suits in equity, & the forms of all such actions & heretofore existing, are abolished; & there shall be in this State hereafter but one form of action for the enforcement or protection of private rights & the redress of private wrongs, which shall be denominated a civil action’. With slight verbal changes the above provision has been enacted in most of the states & Territories which have adopted the reformed procedure.”[2]


Rule 3-  Commencing An Action

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[1]:  All definitions from Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner.  ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Edwin E. Bryant’s The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure 106 (2nd Ed. 1899) ISBN: 9781330614815

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