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Equity Help Sheet

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  • 1. Common lawEquityOriginally operated the doctrine of stare decisis strictly. This meant the law did not develop even when it was obviously in need of change.The Lord Chancellor in the Court of Chancery was not bound by precedent. Rules were established to ensure fairness was done.Strict procedural rules were followed.Rules and maxims of equity were developed. These were flexible to ensure even-handedness and fairness.The only remedy available was damages.Recognised the limits of usefulness of money and created new remedies including injunctions and order of specific performance.<br />Differences between Common Law and Equity<br />Summary<br />Equity was developed due to the fact the courts were bound by previous decisions made in cases, which sometimes led to an unfair decision or unsuitable remedies.<br />Equity ensured that fairness and moral value was used in the judgements so that people felt they were getting “justice”<br />By the nineteenth century, equity had its own case law and recognisable principles, and was no less rigid then the common law.<br />There was always tension between the common law and equity but they became used together within the court after The Judicature Acts of 1873-75. However, if there was any conflict equity should prevail.<br />Equity developed maxims to ensure that decisions are morally fair. The following are some of them:<br />
    • “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands”
    • 2. “He who seeks equity must do equity”
    • 3. “Delay defeats equity”
    The following are the most important equitable remedies, all of which are available at the discretion of the court:<br />
    • Injunction;
    • 4. Specific performance;
    • 5. Rectification
    • 6. Rescission

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