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Encyclopedia > Equity
The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century
The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century

Equity is the name given to the set of legal principles, in countries following the English common law tradition (see English law), which supplement strict rules of law where their application would operate harshly, so as to achieve what is sometimes referred to as "natural justice." It is often confusingly contrasted with "law," which in this context refers to "statutory law" (the laws enacted by Parliament), and "common law" (the principles established by judges when they decide cases). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (841x631, 118 KB) Summary The Court of Chancery as drawn by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (841x631, 118 KB) Summary The Court of Chancery as drawn by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... Equity can refer to: An area of English common law: Equity Actors Equity Association (U.S.) or British Actors Equity Association (U.K.). The value of an ownership interest in property: ownership equity. ... Equality and the balancing of our interests under law is symbolised by a blindfold and weighing scales For other senses of this word, see Law (disambiguation). ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... States currently utilizing parliamentary systems are denoted in red and orange—the former being constitutional monarchies where authority is vested in a parliament, and the latter being parliamentary republics whose parliaments are effectively supreme over a separate head of state. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Distinction between law and equity

In modern practice, perhaps the most important distinction between law and equity is the set of remedies each offers. The most common remedy a court of law can award is money damages. Equity, however, enters injunctions or decrees directing someone either to act or to forbear from acting. Often this form of relief is in practical terms more valuable to a litigant. A plaintiff whose neighbor will not return his only milk cow, which wandered onto the neighbor's property, for example, may want that particular cow back and not just its monetary value. Law courts also enter orders, called "writs" (such as a writ of habeas corpus) but they are less flexible and less easily obtained than an injunction. In law, a writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction. ... In common law countries, habeas corpus (/heɪbiəs kɔɹpəs/), Latin for you [should] have the body, is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. ... An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that either prohibits or compels (restrains or enjoins) a party from continuing a particular activity. ...


Another distinction is the unavailability of a jury in equity. Equitable remedies can be dispensed only by a judge as it is a matter of law and not subject to the intervention of the jury as trier of fact. The distinction between "legal" and "equitable" relief is an important aspect of common law systems, including the American legal system. The right of jury trial in civil cases is guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution but only in cases that traditionally would have been handled by the law courts at Common Law. The question of whether a case should be determined by a jury depends largely on the type of relief the plaintiff requests. If a plaintiff requests damages in the form of money or certain other forms of relief, such as the return of a specific item of property, the remedy is considered legal, and the American Constitution guarantees a right to a trial by jury. On the other hand, if the plaintiff requests an injunction, declaratory judgment, specific performance or modification of contract, or other non-monetary relief, the claim would usually be the one in equity. In law, a question of law (also known as a point of law) is a question which must be answered by applying relevant legal principles, by an interpretation of the law. ... A trier of fact is the person or group of persons in a trial who make findings of fact as opposed to rulings of law. ... For the 1980s television show, see Trial by Jury (TV). ... Amendment VII (the Seventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, codifies the right to jury trial in certain civil trials. ... An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that either prohibits or compels (restrains or enjoins) a party from continuing a particular activity. ... A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court which declares what rights each party in a dispute should have, but does not order any action or result in any legal damages. ... Definition of Specific performance In the law of remedies, a specific performance is a demand of a party to perform a specific act. ...


A final important distinction between law and equity is the source of the rules governing the decisions. In law, decisions are made by reference to legal doctrines or statutes. In contrast, equity, with its emphasis on fairness and flexibility, has only general guides known as the maxims of equity. As noted above, a historic criticism of equity as it developed was that it had no fixed rules of its own with the Lord Chancellor from time to time judging in the main according to his own conscience. As time went on the rules of equity did lose their flexibility and from the 17th Century onwards equity was rapidly consolidated into a system of precedents much like its cousin Common Law. A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...


Charles Dickens' Bleak House parodied the excessive time and expense associated with the Court of Equity in 19th century England. Dickens redirects here. ... Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in 20 monthly parts between March 1852 and September 1853. ... Parody of Back to the Future In contemporary usage, a parody is a work that imitates another work in order to ridicule, ironically comment on, or poke some affectionate fun at the work itself, the subject of the work, the author or fictional voice of the parody, or another subject. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ...


History

The distinction between "law" and "equity" is an accident of history. The "law courts" or "courts of law" were the courts all over England that enforced the king's laws in medieval times. At the end of the 13th century the courts of law gradually froze the types of claims they would hear, and the procedure that governed the hearing of those claims. Because the range of legal claims at that time was quite narrow, legal procedures were painfully hypertechnical, and jurors were often bribed, the result was that many meritorious plaintiffs were denied relief. Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... This article is confusing for some readers, and needs to be edited for clarity. ... Bribery is the practice of offering a professional money or other favours in order to circumvent ethics in a variety of professions. ...


However, remedies could also be obtained through filing a petition with the king, who held residual judicial power; these filings were usually phrased in terms of throwing oneself upon the king's mercy or conscience. Eventually, the king began to regularly delegate the function of resolving such petitions to the Chancellor, an important member of the King's Council. At the time, the Chancellor was usually a clergyman and the King's confessor, so he was literally the keeper of the King's conscience. Soon the Chancery, the Crown's secretarial department, began to resemble a judicial body and became known as the "Court of Chancery". Look up Petition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Chancellor (disambiguation). ... One of the courts of equity in England and Wales. ...


By the 15th century, the judicial power of the Chancery was recognised. Equity, as a body of rules, varied from Chancellor to Chancellor, until the end of the 16th century. After the end of the 17th century, only lawyers were appointed to the office of Chancellor. (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ...


One area in which the Court of Chancery assumed a vital role was the enforcement of uses, a role which the rigid framework of land law could not accommodate. This role gave rise to the basic distinction between legal and equitable interests. Use, as a term in real property law of common law countries, amounts to a recognition of the duty of a person, to whom property has been conveyed for certain purposes, to carry out those purposes. ... ...


Development of equity in England

It was early provided that, in seeking to remove one who wrongfully entered your land with force and arms, you could allege disseisin (dispossession) and demand (and pay for) a writ of entry. That writ did not just give you the written right to re-enter your own land, it gave it you under the protection of the Crown if need be, whence its value. In 1253, to prevent judges from inventing new writs, Parliament provided that the power to issue writs would thereafter be transferred to judges only one writ at a time, in a "writ for right" package known as a form of action. However, because it was limited to enumerated writs for enumerated rights and wrongs, the writ system sometimes produced unjust results. Thus, even though the King's Bench might have jurisdiction over your case and might have the power to issue the perfect writ, you might still not have a case if there was not a single form of action combining them. Therefore, lacking a legal remedy, your only option would be petitioning the King.


People started petitioning the King for relief against unfair judgments and as the number of petitioners rapidly grew, the King delegated the task of hearing petitions to the Lord Chancellor. The first Chancellors were men of the cloth, and they were required to pass judgment guided by conscience and based on morals and equality. It has been suggested that ecclesiastics were chosen for this position as they belonged to the small class of people who were able to read and write.


As these Chancellors had no formal legal training, and were not guided by precedent, their decisions were often widely diverse. However, in 1529 a lawyer, Sir Thomas More, was appointed as Chancellor, marking the beginning of a new era. After this time, all future Chancellors were lawyers, and from around 1557 onwards, records of proceedings in the Courts of Chancery were kept, leading to the development of a number of equitable doctrines. Criticisms continued. The 17th century Jurist John Selden once said that “equity varies with the length of the Chancellor’s foot”. Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), posthumously known also as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, author, and statesman. ...


As the law of equity developed, it began to rival and conflict with the common law. Litigants would go ‘jurisdiction shopping’ and often would seek an equitable injunction prohibiting the enforcement of a common law court order. The penalty for disobeying an equitable ‘common injunction’ and enforcing a common law judgment was imprisonment.


The Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, Sir Edward Coke began the practice of issuing writs of habeas corpus, which required the release of people imprisoned for contempt of chancery orders.


This tension grew to an all-time high in the Earl of Oxford’s case (1615), where a judgment of Coke CJ was allegedly obtained by fraud. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Ellesmere, issued a common injunction out of the Chancery prohibiting the enforcement of the common law order. The two courts became locked in a stalemate, and the matter was eventually referred to the Attorney-General, Sir Francis Bacon. Sir Francis, by authority of King James I, upheld the use of the common injunction and concluded that in the event of any conflict between the common law and the equity, equity would prevail. Equity's primacy in England was later enshrined in the Judicature Acts of the 1870s, which also served to fuse the courts of equity and the common law (although emphatically not the systems themselves) into one unified court system. This article or section needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley (1540 – 1617) was an English nobleman who served as Member of Parliament for Cheshire. ...


SOURCES: Andrew Edgecomb 2006; Equity in a Nutshell by T. Cockburn & M. Shirley, Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2005; Equity & Trusts by T. Cockburn, W. Harris & M. Shirley, Butterworths, Sydney, 2005.


Statute of Uses 1535

In order to avoid paying land taxes and other feudal dues, lawyers developed a primitive form of trust called ‘the use’. This enabled one person (who was not required to pay tax) to hold the legal title of the land for the use of another person. The effect of this was that the first person owned the land under the common law, but the second person had a right to use the land under the law of equity.


Henry VIII enacted the Statute of Uses in 1535 (which became effective in 1536) in an attempt to outlaw this practice and recover lost revenue. The Act effectively made the beneficial owner of the land the legal owner, and liable for feudal dues. The Statute of Uses (1535) is a statute passed by Henry VIII which converted all English equitable estates that were created through use into legal estates. ...


The response of the lawyers to this was to create the ‘use upon a use’. The Statute recognised only the first use, and so land owners were again able to separate the legal and beneficial interests in their land.


For an example, see Godwyne v. Profyt (after 1393): a petition to the Chancellor [1]


See generally treatises on equity and trusts.[2]


  1. ^ Godwyne v. Profyt (after 1393): a petition to the Chancellor
  2. ^ Andrew Edgecomb 2006 Equity in a Nutshell by T. Cockburn & M. Shirley, Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2005; Equity & Trusts by T. Cockburn, W. Harris & M. Shirley, Butterworths, Sydney, 2005.

Comparison of equity traditions in common law countries

As with the geographical transmission of any cultural artifact, direct English influence over equity weakened with time and distance. However, the widespread import of printed opinions provided a corrective force, however long delayed. As the colonies gained political independence, each of their legal systems began drifting from the original in an irreversible departure from the English way of making laws and deciding cases. Nonetheless, each former colony acknowledged the reception the common law and equity of England as a vital source of their jurisprudence.


The comparative question is an easy one to pose. Did English equity develop maturity early enough that all of its derivative systems necessarily tended toward the same doctrines because based on exactly the same set of general principles? Or did the split-offs of any of the colonies occur somewhere in the middle of its development so that substantial permanent differences resulted? One equity? or many?


The answer generally accepted in America, the earliest of the English colonies to gain independence, is the former, that the outcome of a case to be decided today upon principles of equity should be expected to be substantially the same whether decided in the UK or the US. The reasonableness of the belief enjoys strong historical support.


The perfection of modern equity as a system has been authoritatively credited to Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke who served as Chancellor 1737-1756.[3] See generally a review of several distinct approaches to identifying how law changes that utilize English legal history as a test bed.[4] A 1735 portrait of Hardwicke Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (December 1, 1690 - March 6, 1764), English Lord Chancellor, son of Philip Yorke, a barrister, was born at Dover. ...


See England to identify the colonies. Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ...


United States from 1789

In the United States today, the federal courts and most state courts have merged law and equity in the courts of general jurisdiction, such as county courts. However, the substantive distinction between law and equity has retained its old vitality.[5] This is not a mere technicality, because the successful handling of certain law cases is difficult to impossible unless a temporary restraining order (TRO) or preliminary injunction is issued at the outset, to restrain someone from fleeing the jurisdiction taking the only property available to satisfy a judgment, for instance.


Equity courts were widely distrusted in the northeastern U.S. following the American Revolution, and the northern states eliminated their equity courts by the late 1700s. However, the mid-Atlantic and southern states were slower to abandon their equity courts. The federal courts did not abandon the old law/equity separation until the promulgation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ...


Even today, several states still have separate courts for law and equity. Delaware is one notable example, as its Court of Chancery is where most cases involving Delaware corporations are decided. Some other states have separate divisions for legal and equitable matters in a single court. Besides corporate law, which developed out of the law of trusts, areas traditionally handled by chancery courts included wills and probate, adoptions and guardianships, and marriage and divorce. Official language(s) None Capital Dover Largest city Wilmington Area  Ranked 49th  - Total 2,491 sq mi (6,452 km²)  - Width 30 miles (48 km)  - Length 100 miles (161 km)  - % water 21. ... The Delaware Court of Chancery is a court of equity in the United States state of Delaware. ... A Delaware corporation is a corporation chartered in the U.S. state of Delaware. ... In common law legal systems, a trust is a contractual relationship in which a person or entity (the trustee) has legal title to certain property (the trust property or trust corpus), but is bound by a fiduciary duty to exercise that legal control for the benefit of one or more...


After U.S. courts merged law and equity, American law courts adopted many of the procedures of equity courts. The procedures in a court of equity were much more flexible than the courts at common law. In American practice, certain devices such as joinder, counterclaim, cross-claim and interpleader originated in the courts of equity. Also, the modern class action evolved out of joinder. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A Counterclaim is made by the defendant to a civil procedure, in a main actions against the plaintiff or against the plaintiff and other persons. ... A cross-claim is a claim brought against a co-party in the same side of a lawsuit. ... Interpleader is a device allowed in U.S. civil litigation. ... In law, a class action is an equitable procedural device used in litigation for determining the rights of and remedies, if any, for large numbers of people whose cases involve common questions of law and fact. ...


Footnotes

  1. ^ Godwyne v. Profyt (after 1393): a petition to the Chancellor
  2. ^ Andrew Edgecomb 2006 Equity in a Nutshell by T. Cockburn & M. Shirley, Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2005; Equity & Trusts by T. Cockburn, W. Harris & M. Shirley, Butterworths, Sydney, 2005.
  3. ^ The Wikipedia article on Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke largely reprises the 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
  4. ^ Robert Palmer, English Legal History course
  5. ^ See, e.g., Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc., No. 05–260, slip op. (U.S. May 15, 2006) (Roberts, C.J. for a unanimous court) (reviewing the scope of equitable relief as authorized by the ERISA statute).
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A 1735 portrait of Hardwicke Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (December 1, 1690 - March 6, 1764), English Lord Chancellor, son of Philip Yorke, a barrister, was born at Dover. ... Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... Equality and the balancing of our interests under law is symbolised by a blindfold and weighing scales For other senses of this word, see Law (disambiguation). ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties. ... Tort is a legal term that means civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong. ... The Law of Obligations is one of the component elements of the civil law system of law and encompasses contractual obligations, quasi-contractual obligations such as unjust enrichment and extra-contractual obligations. ... Property designates those things that are commonly recognized as being the possessions of a person or group. ... The term trust has several meanings: In sociology, trust is willing acceptance of one persons power to affect another. ... Constitutional law is the study of foundational laws that govern the scope of powers and authority of various bodies in relation to the creation and execution of other laws by a government. ... Administrative law (or regulatory law) is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies of government. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... International law deals with the relationships between states, or between persons or entities in different states. ... Conflict of laws, or private international law, or international private law is that branch of international law and interstate law that regulates all lawsuits involving a foreign law element, where a difference in result will occur depending on which laws are applied as the lex causae. ... The European Union is unique among international organisations in having a complex and highly developed system of internal law which has direct effect within the legal systems of its member states. ... Equality and the balancing of our interests under law is symbolised by a blindfold and weighing scales For other senses of this word, see Law (disambiguation). ... This article is in need of attention. ... Human rights law is a system of laws, both domestic and international which is intended to promote human rights. ... Legal procedure is the body of law and rules used in the administration of justice in the court system, including such areas as civil procedure, criminal procedure, appellate procedure, administrative procedure, labour procedure, and probate. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... Nationality law is the branch of a countrys legal system wherein legislation, custom and court precendent combine to define the ways in which that countrys nationality and citizenship are transmitted, acquired or lost. ... Social security primarily refers to a field of social welfare concerned with social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment, families with children and others. ... Family Law was a television drama starring Kathleen Quinlan as a divorced lawyer who attempted to start her own law firm after her lawyer husband took all their old clients. ... Commercial law or business law is the body of law which governs business and commerce and is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals both with issues of private law and public law. ... Corporations law or corporate law is the law concerning the creation and regulation of corporations. ... In law, intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for various legal entitlements which attach to certain types of information, ideas, or other intangibles in their expressed form. ... The following analysis is based on English law. ... Restitution is the name given to a form of legal relief in which the plaintiff recovers something from the defendant that belongs, or should belong, to the plaintiff. ... Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... 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Civil law or continental law is the predominant system of law in the world, with its origins in Roman law, and sets out a comprehensive system of rules, usually codified, that are applied and interpreted by judges. ... In the religious sense, law can be thought of as the ordering principle of reality; knowledge as revealed by God defining and governing all human affairs. ... Socialist law is the official name of the legal system used in Communist states. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article is about law in society. ... ... [1] Maat, reconstructed to have been pronounced as * (Muh-aht)[2], was the Ancient Egyptian concept of law, morality, and justice[3] which was deified as a goddess. ... The material for the study of Babylonian law is singularly extensive. ... Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome. ... 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Legal realism is a family of theories about the nature of law developed in the first half of the 20th century in the United States (American Legal Realism) and Scandinavia (Scandinavian Legal Realism). ... The study of feminist legal theory is a school thought based on the common view that laws treatment of women in relation to men has not been equal nor fair. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... Law and economics, or economic analysis of law, is the term usually applied to an approach to legal theory that incorporates methods and ideas borrowed from the discipline of economics. ... New institutional economics (NIE) may be characterized as a new perspective in economics. ... Critical legal studies refers to a movement in legal thought that applied methods similar to those of critical theory (the Frankfurt School) to law. ... Equality and the balancing of our interests under law is symbolised by a blindfold and weighing scales For other senses of this word, see Law (disambiguation). ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      In law, the judiciary or judicial is the system of courts which administer justice in the name of the sovereign or state, a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. ... A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... This page is about the sociological concept. ... 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See also

For the actors guilds called equity, see Actors Equity Association (U.S.) or British Actors Equity Association (U.K.). For equity as the value of an ownership interest in property, see ownership equity. ... Restitution is the name given to a form of legal relief in which the plaintiff recovers something from the defendant that belongs, or should belong, to the plaintiff. ... The following analysis is based on English law. ... Undue influence (as a term in jurisprudence) is an equitable doctrine that involves one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person. ... One of the courts of equity in England and Wales. ... The Delaware Court of Chancery is a court of equity in the United States state of Delaware. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Case law (precedential law) is the body of judge-made law and legal decisions that interprets prior case law, statutes and other legal authority -- including doctrinal writings by legal scholars such as the Corpus Juris Secundum, Halsburys Laws of England or the doctinal writings found in the Recueil Dalloz... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Inequity aversion is the preference for fair rewards and fairplay in Anthropology (in the sub-disciplines sociology, economics, sociobiology, psychology, Evolutionary psychology, and primate behaviourology). ...

External links

  • Delaware Court of Chancery: Official site

  Results from FactBites:
 
Equity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1945 words)
Equity is the name given to the portion of the legal system, in countries following the English common law tradition, that resolves disputes between persons by resorting to principles of conscience, fairness and justness.
Equity comes into play typically when none of the parties to the dispute has done anything against the law, but their rights or claims are in conflict.
Equity, as a body of rules, varied from Chancellor to Chancellor, until the end of the 16th century.
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