Topics: Common law, Equity, Law Pages: 3 (796 words) Published: January 1, 2014



1. Equity has made the law more fair. Discuss

Equity can be defined in a technical sense as a branch of law administered by the court of chancery before the passing of the Judicature Act (1873-1875) with a view of supplementing the common law rules. Equity developed because of the problems of the common law. The word 'equity' has a meaning of 'fairness' and this is the basis on which it operates. The existing law as at the time equity arose was common law, equity acted as a supplement to the common law thus it was described as being 'a gloss on the common law'. This statement shows that it improved the common law. Seeing that the law (common law) was made to ensure justice in particular cases, it is only right to say that if equity truly was a gloss on the common law, equity then made the law more fair. For example, a major problem of the common law courts was the fact that the only remedy they could give was 'damages' that is monetary compensation. In some cases this would not be the best method of putting matters right between the parties, therefore equity provided other equitable remedies. Equity can also be said to have made the law more fair by its mode of operations which includes a series of maxims. This maxims are called equitable maxims and they include : -Equity looks to intention and not the form: Under common law rules, a deed could only be altered by another deed , but equity decided that as the parties had intended to alter the deed, it would be fair to look at that intention rather than the fact that they got the formalities wrong. This was applied in the case of BERRY v BERRY (1929). -He who comes to equity must come with clean hands: In other words an equitable principle or remedy will not be granted to a plaintiff who has not acted fairly. This was shown in D & C Builders ltd v Rees(1965). -Delay defeats equity: This...
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