In COMMON-LAW PLEADING or CODE PLEADING, the initial statements made by a plaintiff that set forth a CAUSE OF ACTION to commence a civil lawsuit; the different points of a plaintiff's declaration, each of which constitute a basis for relief. In CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, one of several parts or charges of an indictment, each accusing the defendant of a different offense.
The term count has been replaced by the word complaint in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and many state codes of civil procedure. Sometimes count is used to denote the numbered paragraphs of a complaint, each of which sets out an essential element of the claim.
Federal and state rules of criminal procedure govern the standards that a criminal count must satisfy in federal and state criminal matters.