Explain the difference between rules of the common law and principles of equity.
Law is to be seen as definite and also flexible and fair. It specifically needs unambiguous rules on one hand but flexibility on the other to provide exceptions to cases that may lead to apparently unjust conclusions where rules are applied rigidly. Common law, as define by Wikipedia, refers to law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals, rather than through legislative statutes or executive action. Equity on the other hand, as defined by Aristotle is a better sort of justice, which corrects legal justice where the latter errs through being expressed in a universal form and not taking account of particular cases. In my understanding, common law is a body of rules created by judges by writing opinions based on cases that are not already addressed by statutes where as equity is in essence principles, doctrines and rules advanced initially by the Court of Chancery in positive competition with those of the Common Law Courts. This competition began when litigants became dissatisfied with the remedy laid down by Common Law Courts. In these instances litigants preferred to petition the King for him to mediate in cases. This was dealt with by the King’s Chancellor who determined each case according to his own discretion. Over the years, these decisions became known as rules of equity. Equity began to appear as an apparent set of principles rather than a personal jurisdiction of the Chancellor. The most important distinction between common law and principles of equity is the set of remedies each offers. The most common remedy a Court of Law can award is money damages. Equity, however, enters injunctions for decrees directing someone either to act or to forbear from acting. Often this form of relief is in practical terms more valuable to the litigant. An additional distinction is the unavailability of a jury in equity. Equitable remedies can only be passed...
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