Equity has brought benefits to many litigants who would otherwise have been severely disadvantaged by the common law. Discuss, with reference to decided cases.
William the Conqueror found England with no single system of law common to the whole country. The law was mainly sets of customary rules which differed from area to area. For example, in one area you could get away with stealing, in another it would be seen as crime. There was no such thing as ‘ The English Legal System” until William’s invasion in 1066. William developed the legal system and introduced many rules. William preserved some of the old customary laws and used them as a basis for common laws. He introduced the feudal system and King’s justice, these were made to help those who supported him. Williams used subtle tactics to gain control of the country. He introduced Curia Regis, who enforced a system of rules which applied to the whole country and became known as common law.
Although common law was seen for the better, it came with few problems. One of the problems was the rigidity of the writ system. In common law, if someone wants their case to be heard in court, they have to fit their complaints into the existing writs. If the writs are not similar to the existing ones, the cases will not be heard in court. The system was formal and rigid, bound by 'no writ, no remedy'. So if there was no writ to deal with the plaintiff's claim then there was no remedy. In addition to that, the common law uses damages as a remedy for cases. The aim of damages is to compensate the plaintiff which was not always an adequate solution to every problem. This is because, not everyone wanted money some wanted injunction or just an apology. Due to these weaknesses of common law, many litigants were dissatisfied hence causing them to send petitions to the King who was known as “ The Fountain of Justice”. The King then directed his Chancellor to handle those cases under his Royal Prerogative. The...
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