The broad principles of equity and the law of equity
The Common Law is one system of law, and equity is another. It has several guidelines, precepts, and remedies. So, in order to comprehend the tenets upon which the Law of Equity is founded, we must comprehend how it came to be, as well as the justifications for its necessity in the face of an existing legal structure—the Common Law. The body of customary law known as common law has its roots in London’s Curia Regis (King’s Court). The majority of English Common Law was created by judges and was based on judicial precedents and judgements. The following two primary factors led the nation to recognise the necessity for the Law of Equity: Under Common Law, damages were the sole viable remedy. As a result, in cases where monetary recompense was inappropriate, a just and equitable remedy could not always be provided through Common Law. This remedy didn’t always have a big impact on how the cases ended. A writ, which is a legal document that states why and on what legal grounds a person is being sued, is required to begin a civil action under Common Law. When a matter was not covered by a writ, issues occurred. When the practise of creating writs for each new case was abandoned in the 13th century, cases that were not already covered by writs were not continued.
“Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit,” which roughly translates to “Equity supports the watchful and not those who sleep on their rights,” is the Latin maxim for this notion. Laches is the legal term for unreasonable delay in asserting a claim. The claims could be dismissed as a result of laches. A party must therefore bring an action within a reasonable amount of time. There are some circumstances in which the law of limitations is specifically applied; in these situations, there is a specific legal situation in which a time period that has been clearly defined has passed and the party is no longer permitted to file a lawsuit. This principle, which allows the provisions of a contract to be construed by taking into consideration the intention of the parties, is the basis upon which an equitable remedy was founded. Due to the common law’s rigidity and inability to adjust favourably to time demands, it was once believed that the form rather than the content of a contract was more significant. Equity, on the other hand, considers the spirit of the agreement rather than its letter. This idea is codified in the clause for relief from penalties and forfeitures, which specifies that the purpose of a contract is to be carried out, not to be paid for.
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