Equity and Common Law Master Essay

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Equity to the layman means fairness and justice, but in the legal context its meaning is much more strictly defined. There are rules of equity; it must obey the rules of precedent as does the common law1. Though the foundation of the equity can be trace back to the Norman Conquest (1066), its impact today remains as strong as ever.


When the common law developed the strictures of the writ system through the twelfth and thirteen centuries and failed to develop further remedies. By thirteen century aggrieved litigants to petition to the chancellor to find a more just solution to their problem. Chancellor was trying to give relief in hard cases, and the medieval chancellor was peculiarly well fitted for this work. Chancellor was usually an ecclesiastic. If the petition was successful, the chancellor's conclusion would usually be different from that which the common law court would have reached; otherwise the matter would have been litigant at common law. As a consequence of growth of these petitions, the Court of Chancery had developed, where the decisions were made on the basis of fairness and reason. Thus the notion of 'equity' was established as a precise jurisdiction.
The common law tradition grew in to the ELS3 through a long process of rationalization of traditions, customs and local practices among other different elements most occurring in the medieval time. The Anglo-Saxon customs were there before the Norman Conquest, but afterwards were joined with Royal Justice in a consolidation of 'local laws' and a vast body of judicial decisions have been built up which forms much of the present law. ...
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