The law of equity historical origin

History of equity Origins of the common law[ edit ] After the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century, royal justice came to be administered in three central courts: The common law developed in these royal courts.

The law of equity historical origin

The beginning of the equity law can be traced to England, where it was administered by the high court of chancery. It is important to understand the nature and the history of the law of equity to understand the concerns it addresses in a legal system. History of Equity Law Throughout the 13th and 19th centuries, the common law system was developed and advanced in England.

This implies that there is no complete compilation of legal principles and statutes; thus, the common law system relies on few statutes, which are a result of the decisions of the legislative authority.

It is extensively based on precedents or the judicial decisions made in comparable cases.

The law of equity historical origin

Generally, the decisions of higher courts entrust the judges of the common law system with an enormous role in shaping the law. These precedents are recorded and documented as case laws though yearbook, and legal reports. In the past, the common law largely depended on the judicial precedents, which were much formal and rigid.

The inflexibility of the common law system left the people distressed since they were unable to obtain relief from the Kings Bench which administered the legal system.

Many litigants were disappointed by the common law system, when their complaints were dismissed on the basis of non-compliance to the procedures of the court, or due to the lack of precedents on the particular issue. The Chancellor usually determined the petitions based on moral grounds.

In other words, chancery would either issue or withhold relief according to his sense of what is right and wrong or on a merit basis, unlike based on the judicial precedents of the common law courts. The independence of the court of chancery was established in the year when the chancellor had issued the first decree in his own name.

The chancellor was not bound by the English writ system to use juries during the trials. He had the sole discretion and authority to summon the people to inquire on the cases, order disclosure of documents, to decide the cases based what is morally right. However, problems arose when the jurisdiction of the chancery court started to overlap with the jurisdiction of the common law courts; for example, the injunctions issued by the chancellor restraining action at the common law courts were contested by the common law practitioners.

It was later resolved that the law of equity will prevail over the common law. Accordingly, the equity law presumed its place in the English legal system. And the authority of the Chancery court became more distinct since it was through this courts that monetary reliefs alone were shown to be inadequate.

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In order to resolve the issue, attempts were made to integrate the common law courts and the court of chancery through some legislative enactments such as the Common Law Procedure Act and Chancery Amendment Act Remedies in Equity Law As discussed above, the remedies provided under the equity law have been viewed as extraordinary remedies, as opposed to limiting remedies to monetary relief alone.

Equity law recognizes and address unjust enrichment. Accordingly, some of the popular equitable reliefs are as follows. Injunctions can be classified as mandatory to do something and prohibitory refrain from doing something.

Specific Performance -The court can direct a party to do something in specific; this is most commonly observed under the law of contracts. Recession -The court may relieve the parties of a contract from all its contractual obligations i. Account of Profits — This remedy is used to prevent unjust enrichment by recovering a monetary value from the unjustly enriched party.

Restitution — The court directs a party to restore something that he or she is not permitted to hold. This remedy is usually sought along with the relief of recession. Declaratory Judgment — The courts can decide on the rights and obligations of the parties to resolve any legal uncertainties that may arise.

Equitable Estoppel — This is a body of rules that keeps a person from making declarations that are conflicting to their earlier position on specific matters under the matters examined in the court, or exercising a specific right, or from bringing up any claims at such instances the person is said to be stopped.

They have a tendency to represent the characteristics of equity, as being more adaptable, receptive to individual needs, taking into account the previous behavior of the parties concerned, before deciding on a case. The below listed are some common maxims of equity law though it is considered to be an exhaustive list.


Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy ubi jus ibi remedium. Equity follows the law -this principle was established to state that equity works alongside the law as opposed to the idea that it competes with the rules set out in the legal system. He who seeks equity must do equity — The person who seeks an equitable remedy should be prepared to be fair and equitable to the defending party.

This refers to the future actions that may arise after an inquiry at the courts. He who comes into equity must come with clean hands — It is important for the seeker of equity to have behaved in an equitable and just manner.

This refers to the past actions of the plaintiff, prior to the commencement of the case at the Delay defeats equities — This principle established that relief would be provided only to those who are able to take timely action i.

Equality is equity — The court of law always considers the parties to the case on a leveled ground, based on their rights and duties. Equity looks to the intent rather than the form — This principle refers that the law of equity looks beyond the facts of the case to also understand the intention of the parties on a certain issue.The present volume is the second work published under the imprint of the Yale University Press in memory of Arthur P.

The history and development of equity - Law Trove

McKinstry, who died in New York City, July 21, Born in Winnebago City, Minnesota, on December 22, , he was graduated from Yale College in , and in received the degree of LL.B. magna cum laude from the Yale Law School, graduating at the head of his class. Greek law, legal systems of the ancient Greeks, of which the best known is the law of Athens.

Although there never was a system of institutions recognized and observed by the nation as a whole as its legal order, there were a number of basic approaches to legal problems, certain methods used in.

The law of equity historical origin

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II A History of Equity A Introduction Understanding the history of equity is an important guide to analysing its application in case law. History illustrates the values that shape equity’s application and future development.

History. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Equity and the common law were originally administered by separate court systems that coexisted uneasily until the Earl of Oxford’s Case (), when the King held that equity prevailed over the common law in the event of a conflict.

The nature and history of equity