DEFINITION• A rule or principle of law, especially whenestablished by precedent.• A set of general principles which are said togovern the way in which equity operates, illustratingthe qualities of equity.• The Court of Chancery applied the doctrines andmaxims interchangeably.
DOCTRINE OF CONVERSION• The basis of this doctrine is the maxim ‘Equity lookson that as done which ought to be done’.• Introduced in the 18th Cent, to stop the unfairness ofallowing trustees prejudicially to affect the interests ofbeneficiaries by postponing sales or purchase of land.• Thus it promotes justice; assist the owner of thesubject matter of conversion in the accomplishment ofhis objective to distribute his property in accordanceto his presumed intention.
DOCTRINE OF CONVERSION• It is normally illustrated in a trust for sale of land; in that equity regards that land to devolve as if it were money or money as if it were land.• Conversion is effective at the date of the instrument expressing the intention (in cases of deed) and the date of testator’s death (in cases of will).
DOCTRINE OF CONVERSION• This doctrine can only operate where someone is under an obligation to have carried out certain act and there is someone who is in a position to compel the performance of such obligation. Enforceable Binding Trust for Contracts for sale sale or purchase or purchase of of land land
Fletcher v Ashburner (1779)• “Nothing was better established than this principle, that money directed to be employed in the purchase of land, and land directed to be sold and turned into money are to be considered as that species of property into which they are directed to be converted”.
Sweetapple v Bindon (1705)Testator (mom) bequeathed £300 to be used forthe purchase of land (property) to the use of herdaughter and grandchildren-Daughter died andno purchase of land had been made- Husbandof the daughter claimed to be tenant by courtesyof the fund of £300 – Claim upheld; thoughpurchase of land had not been made, by thedoctrine of conversion, the money was regardedas realty (real property).
DOCTRINE OF ELECTION• A person may not take a benefit and reject an associated burden or, choose between parts of a single transaction. Birmingham v Kirwan (1805)• Lord Redesdale; “A person cannot accept and reject the same instrument”.• This doctrine operates when a testator has committed a mistake.
DOCTRINE OF ELECTION• A (testator) attempts to devise a land by will to B. In actual fact, the land belonged to C, and not A.• However, in the same will, A also bequeathed £1000 to C.• C is in the position either to : i) transfer the land to B and receive £1000; or ii) keep his land and compensate B the value of the land should he choose to also keep the £1000.
DOCTRINE OF ELECTION Re Edwards  Conditions for election:iii) Intention on the part of A to dispose certain property to someone (B),iv)The property is not A’s property i.e. someone else’s property (C), andv) Benefit should be given to the true owner of the property (C).
DOCTRINE OF SATISFACTION• The basis of this doctrine is the maxim ‘Equity imputes an intention to fulfill an obligation’.• Where a person is under an obligation to do one thing but does another, the doing of that other thing may be held to satisfy the legal obligation.
DOCTRINE OF SATISFACTION• A owes B £2000. A died and the debt remains outstanding. A left a will and in his will, he left B £2000.• A intended to satisfy his obligation (to pay the debt) towards B thus the £2000 left in A’s will is intended to relinquish A’s debt towards B.• B must give up his claim to the debt if he wishes to take the legacy left by A.
Talbott v Duke of Shrewsbury (1714)Where a testator owes money to a person, gives alegacy to that person which is either equal orexceeds the amount of debt owed, there is apresumption that the legacy extinguishes the debt.
DOCTRINE OF SATISFACTION• This doctrine is not applicable where: i) the debt was incurred after A made his will; ii) the debt is not a specific sum; iii) the will made by A contains a specific direction to pay his debts.
DOCTRINE OF PERFORMANCE• This doctrine is applicable much like the doctrine of satisfaction.• Where a person is under an obligation to do one thing but does another, equity may still regard the performance of that thing as performance of the original obligation.
DOCTRINE OF PERFORMANCE• This doctrine is applicable in these situations:iii) Agreement to purchase land• A is under the obligation to purchase one land. Several lands have been bought, none of which is the land A was supposed to purchase.• Here, it is presumed that the lands were bought in performance or part performance of the obligation.
DOCTRINE OF PERFORMANCEii) Agreement to leave money• A has agreed to leave a sum of money, through a will to B. However, A suddenly died without having the opportunity to write the will.• Under this doctrine, B is entitled to a portion of A’s personal estate.