Medieval and early modern common law courts in England developed a complex system of pretrial pleading in civil suits. Attorneys of both parties were required to file a series of legal documents, known as pleadings, that were designed “to render the facts of each party’s case plain and intelligible.” The system was intended to narrow and refine the single issue that was to be decided by the jury at trial. Courts in England’s American colonies and, later, in the United States adopted this pleading system.