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Bill to perpetuate testimony is a bill in equity. A court of equity will entertain a bill or petition to perpetuate whenever there is reasonable cause to apprehend future litigation in regard to a particular subject or matter and the person threatened with or exposed to suit is himself unable to bring the issue to an immediate judicial determination, or when he himself proposes or intends to institute an action for the purpose of establishing his rights with respect to a particular matter or subject, but is unable, by reason of some legal impediment, to do so immediately.
A bill to perpetuate testimony differs from a bill to take testimony de bene esse. Bills to perpetuate testimony can be maintained only, when no present suit can be maintained at law by the party seeking the aid of the court to try his right; whereas bills to take testimony de bene esse, are sustainable only in aid of a suit already depending.