Common Law and Equity Essay

975 Words Mar 17th, 2012 4 Pages
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
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This type of justice came to known as equity.

Equity has blessed the legal system with 3 major changes namely new rights, better procedures and new remedies. Equity created new rights by recognizing trusts and giving beneficiaries rights against trustees. The common law did not recognise such a device and regarded the trustees as owners. Equity also developed the equity of redemption. At common law, under a mortgage, if the mortgagor had not repaid the loan once the legal redemption date had passed, he would lose the property but remain liable to repay the loan. Equity allowed him to keep the property if he repaid the loan with interest. This right to redeem the property is known as the equity of redemption.

The next major change that equity brought was better procedures. Equity was not bound by the writ system and cases were heard in English instead of Latin. The Chancellor did not use juries and he concerned himself with questions of fact. He could order a party to disclose documents. The Chancellor issued subpoenas compelling the attendance of the defendant or witnesses whom he could examine on oath.

To boot, equity as well created new remedies into the legal system. The first which was injunction is used to stop a certain party from carrying out certain acts. The usage of this remedy can be seen in the

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