What is the Law of Equity? Maxims, Equitable Remedies, and its Essay; The law of equity began in the court of chancery which stood set up because a fair and just remedy could not give through common law as monetary compensation was not suitable; and, sometimes a well-deserving plaintiff was denied because the writs were quite narrow and rigid. Courts stood guided by the previous decisions and that’s how the twelve maxims existed formulated.
Here is the article to explain, What is the Law of Equity? also define the Maxims, Equitable Remedies, and its Essay!
These maxims limit the granting of equitable remedies for those who have not acted equitably. The decisions of the court of chancery and common law were constantly conflicting. This rivalry existed ended in The Earl of Oxford’s case 1615. In which the king stated ‘Where common law and equity conflict equity should prevail’. The two courts are now unified and the same judges give decisions out common law and equity.
Introduction to Equity Law;
“Equity is Not Past the Age of Childbearing”. The law relating to equity is largely built on precedent. The rules have stood built upon by previous situations which they have dealt with. Although there has been a lot of disagreement about changing laws and adding to the law of equity; the rules that have stood accepted by proceeding judges became precedent and stand now known as maxims and used as guidelines by the court. I agree with the statement by Denning as equity is born from the interpretation of judges and their problem-solving abilities.
There are a lot of different rules regarding equity that have all existed created through precedent. It is my opinion that although Equity dates back hundreds of years and the law is still just as relevant. There are alterations to the law as recent as the 1975 Eves V Eves case. I think that as long as there are judges to create precedent there can be new law created in equity.
The Maxims of Equity;
These are the general legal principles that have stood adopted through threw following precedent regarding equity. These maxims are the body of law that has developed about equity and this helps to govern the way equity operates. All maxims are discretionary and courts may choose whether they wish to apply these principles.
Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy:
This maxim developed as common law had no new remedies only monetary damages. Maxim must treat with caution as today’s laws stand made by the Oireachtas. Maxim can use by the beneficiary of a trust whose rights existed not recognized by the common law. Equitable remedies such as injunctions or specific performance may give. Attempts to alter this maxim in recent times by Lord Denning were unsuccessful.
Equity follows the law:
Courts will firstly apply common law and if this is not fair then an equitable remedy will be provided. This maxim sets out that equity is not in place to overrule judgments in common law but rather to make sure that parties don’t suffer injustice.
He who seeks equity must do equity:
A remedy will only be provided where you have acted equitably in the transaction. This maxim is discretionary and is concerned with the future conduct of the plaintiff.
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands:
This maxim link to the previous maxim and relates to the past conduct of parties. They must not have had any involvement in fraud or misrepresentation or they will not succeed in equity. A beneficiary failed in their action against the trustees to pay her back the assets of the trust she had already received as a result of a misrepresentation of her age.
Delay defeats equity:
Laches is an unreasonable delay in enforcing a right. If there is an unreasonable delay in bringing proceedings the case may exist disallowed in equity. Acquiescence is where one party breaches another’s rights and that party doesn’t take any action against them they may do not allowed to pursue this claim at a later stage. These may exist used as defenses about equity cases.
For a defense of laches, courts must decide whether the plaintiff has delayed unreasonably in bringing forth their claim and the defense of acquiescence can use; if the actions of the defendant suggest that they are not going ahead with the claim; so it is reasonable for the other party to assume that there is no claim.
Equality is Equity:
Where more than one person exists involved in owning a property the courts prefer to divide property equally. Prefer to treat all involved as equals. In the case of a business, any funds leftover from dissolution should stand divided equally.
Equity looks to the intent rather than the form:
The principle established in. This maxim is where the equitable remedy for rectification stood established this allows for a contract to correct when the terms do not correctly record. This maxim allows the judge to interpret the intentions of the parties if the terms don’t record properly.
Equity looks on that as done which ought to have been done:
The judges look at this contract from the enforceable side and the situation they would be in had the contract stood completed.
Equity imputes an intention to fulfill an Obligation:
If a person completes an act that could exist regarded as fulfilling an original obligation it will take as such.
Equity acts in personam:
This maxim states that equity relates to a person rather than their property. It applies to property outside a jurisdiction provided that a defendant is within the jurisdiction. English court ordered specific performance on land in the US.
Where the equities are equal, the first in time prevails:
Equity law, Where two parties have the right to possess an object the first one with the interest will prevail.
Where the equities are equal, the law prevails:
Where two parties want the same thing and the court can’t honestly decide who deserves it most they will leave it where it is
The following Equitable Remedies below are;
This is an order by the court to make a party complete an action or to make them refrain from doing an action. It exists awarded to protect a legal right rather than compensate for the breach of one. If a party breaches this court order it is a serious offense and can merit arrest or possible jail sentence. The reason for injunctions is that money would be an inadequate remedy for breaching the person’s right.
An injunction is a discretionary remedy that courts will only grant if they feel it is just and equitable in the circumstances to do so. Interim and interlocutory injunctions are temporary and last up until a specified date or until a trial hearing. Injunctions can exist used to stop trespass, pass off, prevent illegal picketing, and freeze assets. The conduct of the parties will also affect whether the judge will grant them an injunction.
Granted before a court hearing because the plaintiff may suffer unrepairable damage if the right exists breached which cannot exist compensated by money. The plaintiff must prove to the judge that there is sufficient reason to believe that the damage will exist caused to them.
Three-stage test on granting interlocutory injunctions existed introduced in the English case (American Cyanamid) this stood accepted and followed as law in the Irish case:
- If it is a serious and fair issue that will tried you need not prove it’ll be a successful claim.
- Set out if damages would be a suitable remedy. It must be impossible to quantify damages and must give an undertaking which means in the event of an injunction not being granted they must compensate the other party for any losses.
- Whether it is convenient or not to grant the injunction. The need for the plaintiff to protected must outweigh the right of the other party to grant the injunction.
Qui Timet Injunction;
Prevents an act before it has stood committed it may fear or could have existed threatened. The plaintiff must show that there is a strong possibility of this happening and the consequences of the act will be extremely damaging. The burden of proof is higher than a normal injunction.
This type of injunction can also stand known as a freezing injunction. Where one feels that they have a substantial case against the other they can apply to the courts for this only if they feel that the other may move of hiding assets. To gain this type of injunction plaintiffs must prove that they have a substantial case and must also prove that the assets are at risk. It must also be convenient to grant it.
This type of injunction stood introduced in the Nippon Case 1975 by Lord Denning where the defendant owed money to the plaintiff he existed not allowed to take out the amount he had owed from his account. This became another instrument of law when it stood confirmed in the Mareva Case.
Anton Piller Order;
This can also be known as a search order. It was thought of to prevent the defendant from destroying anything that could exist used by the plaintiff in court to assist their trial. It is granted without the other party’s knowledge to maintain the element of surprise. The order requires the defendant to allow the plaintiff or a representative to enter his premises and to collect what is relevant for evidence.
If the defendant does not follow the order then he shall be held in contempt of court. It is only granted where it is deemed to be necessary where it is feared that vital evidence will be destroyed. The order takes its name from the 1976 Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd case
Is a form of injunction where a court orders an individual to complete a specific task which is generally part of a contract. This remedy is discretionary and only used when an individual cannot exist compensated by money. If they do not complete the contract they will exist held in contempt of court.
This remedy aims to return parties to the position they were in before they entered into the contract. The main grounds for rescission are mistake, misrepresentation, undue influence, and unconscionable transactions.