In Stay of Execution, Sheherezade asks practitioners:
bq. Past tense of the verb “plead”: “pled,” “plead,” or “pleaded”? Do you have a different answer if the sentence is “such a claim has not been ______ in this proceeding” rather than “Plaintiffs _______ X, Y, and Z in the complaint”?
I would have answered: pleaded in BE, pled in AmE. But some replies indicated that Garner recommends pleaded, and that Fowler was consulted (Fowler agreed with me, though).
I think there is a difference of usage between BE and AmE. I don’t think BE would talk about pleading a claim, or at least would rarely do so. A claim is argued or asserted, an argument is submitted.
We talk about pleading guilty or not guilty (a stage of proceedings never encountered in German criminal trials, although after the indictment – Anklageschrift – is read out, the defendant is asked what he or she has to say, and at this point it will become clear that the defendant admits the events or denies them.
German talks of Plädoyer for counsel’s closing speeches.