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Confession and Avoidance

From lawbrain.com

A form of plea that served as the formal answer to a plaintiff's complaint or declaration.

Under the old system of common-law pleading, a defendant might choose to respond to the plaintiff's claim with a plea of confession and avoidance. By that, the defendant acknowledged the truth of the allegations in the plain-tiff's declaration, either specifically or by implication, and then asserted that there were additional facts that neutralized the legal effect of the plaintiff's allegations.