(L. Peremptio); generally, it is the interruption of a legal proceeding upon the pleading by a defendant of a matter that prevents the plaintiff from going forward with the action at that time or in that form. Pleas in abatement raise such matters as objections to the place, mode or time of the plaintiff’s claim. At one time, abatement of proceedings in equity differed from abatement in law, in that the former merely suspended the action, subject to revival when the defect was cured, whereas the latter terminated it, although the plaintiff could start the action anew.

In canon law particularly, abatement is a way through which legal proceedings in a tribunal end without a judgement either upon the plea of the defendant or by the judge himself. Abatement in canon law proceeds from the presumption that the court without the active interest of the litigant. If certain time-limit set by law ends without any procedural acts being performed by the petitioner, then it is presumed that litigant is not interested in the case; e.g. when over six months or another period of time established by a particular law the parties perform no procedural acts and when nothing has impeded them from doing so ceases the court terminates the proceedings of the case (cf. CIC c.1520).

At the abatement of a case, the procedural acts remain extinguished. However, the acts of the case can be utilized in another trial when the case is between the same parties on the same matter (cf. CIC, c. 1521).

The 1917 Code prescribed similar laws regarding abatement of a litigation pending before the tribunal.