Historical Development of Equity

Topics: Common law, Equity, Law Pages: 3 (901 words) Published: February 7, 2011
Describe and account for the historical development of equity and consider (think about) the contemporary (existing) significance (implication) of equitable principles.

In Roman mythology, Aequitas, also known as Aecetia, was the goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Like Abundantia, she is depicted with a cornucopia, representing wealth from commerce. She is also shown holding a balance, representing equity and fairness. Aequitas is the source of the word equity, and also means "equality" or "justice" (Wikipedia 07). English law has deep historical roots and equity started due to the imperfections of the common law system. In 1066 William 1st invaded and conquered England; he claimed ownership of the country under the concept of the ‘divine right of Kings’. This in itself was problimatic as the Country had different rules in different areas brought about by outside influences. In order to control and remain in power William introduced the ‘feudal system’, this system had been used in France by the Normans since settlement in 900AD. It was simple & effective the land was owned by the King, one quarter was kept as personal property, some was given to the church and the rest was leased out to favoured nobles under strict controls. In return the noblemen provided certain services (tenures) they also had to swear on oath to remain faithful and loyal if they wanted to remain in the Kings favour and keep the land. The land that was given to the Nobles was vast and could not be controled and managed properly so smaller areas were given to lesser nobles on the same basis as with the king (in return for services) and so the system went on until lastly the lower class or workers who performed services for the basic needs of food and shelter. Where the joint responsibility of kin-groups had once served as the basis of dispute settlement, it now became the responsibility and the right of the feudal lords to see that justice was done. As a means of...
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