The Field Code 1848 – Code of Civil Procedure

The Field Code 1848 – Code of Civil Procedure

The Field Code 1848 - Code of Civil Procedure
The Field Code 1848 – Code of Civil Procedure

David Dudley Field (1805–1894)

The first code of civil procedure, presented by David Dudley Field in 1848 for the state of New York and passed by the state legislature, set simpler standards for pleading an action before a court.

The Field Code served as a model for other states when it came to codifying and modifying civil procedure standards in their courts. There were no universal rules for starting an activity prior to the code. Each common-law and equity case had its own set of strict procedural rules, and the language used in such petitions was highly structured and verbose. A plaintiff’s claim was rarely presented in basic, uncomplicated words.

The Field Code was a significant shift from previous processes. The code established a consistent set of pleading rules to be employed in each type of case as a result of the unification of law and equity proceedings into one action. The pleadings were to be written in plain, brief language, stating just the facts of the two parties’ disagreement.

This step toward a more efficient justice system was aided by this explanation of process. Within twenty-five years of the Field Code’s implementation, over half of the states had passed similar legislation. The Field Code influenced English law as well, with its concepts included into the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875.

Although code pleading can refer to conformity with the requirements of either a legislative statute or a judicial order, it is derived from the Field Code.


The Law School Revolution (1870);

The United States Code (1926);

Rule 23 and Modern Class Action (1938).


The Field Code 1848 – Code of Civil Procedure

The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – Illustrated, 22 Oct. 2015, English edition by Michael H. Roffer (Autor)

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