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Common Law and Equity Essay

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Law and Equity Essay (a) Outline the development of common law and equity. There was no system of law in England and Wales before 1066, as it was mainly based on customs which were just rules of behaviour and the other used to be the decisions of judges. The law in England and Wales built over the centuries. There were various methods of creating laws which were called "sources of law". However, in the 18th Century Parliament became more powerful which lead the Acts of Parliament (statues) to be the main sources of law today. Decisions made by the judges are also essential today as they interpreted Parliamentary law where there was no statue law. During the twentieth century statue law and judicial decisions continued to be the major sources of law but, in addition there were two new sources became increasingly important these were delegated legislation and European law. Delegated legislation is law made by a body other than Parliament. Parliament gives others the power to pass delegated legislation in a parent or enabling Act. Customs are rules of behaviour that develop in a community without being deliberately invented. There are two main types of Customs: Local Customs and General Customs. ...read more.


The king was overwhelmed by the complaints and passed it on the Chancellor who known as 'The Keeper of the King's Conscience' as he was both a lawyer and a priest. The chancellor had a reputation of solving the cases fairly and based on justice. The chancellor dealt with so many claims that in 1474 he was given his own court named as Court of Chancery this is when a new law came into place named "equity" meaning fairness. Equity historically had been an important source and still plays a vital role with many of our legal concepts having developed from equitable principles. The word equity meaning "fairness" operates on its meaning when adding to our law. Equity and Common Law both systems functioned side by side and eventually a conflict developed between these two systems and in that equity would frequently overruled common law decisions and denied them. The problem was that the Common law courts would make an order in the favour of the other party whereas the Chancery court would make an order in the favour of the other party. This conflict was later solved in The Earl of Oxford's Case 1615 when the king came to the decision that where there was conflict equity should prevail. ...read more.


Equity is still very significant today. It is being used all over the country in the areas of mortgage and trust. The area of contract is still very much based on principles of equity. Trusts are originated entirely on equity where the trustee, who has interest in the property, should perform in the favour of the person with an `equitable interest` in the property. Equitable principles are still being developed such as the "promissory estoppel`, it is discussed in the D&C Builders. Lord Denning developed this in The High Trees Case it stops the person to go back on a promise. The most recent development has been of `deserted wife's equity` this was developed to overcome the problem of marriages when the martial home is on the husbands name only however now until any of the children's reach the age of 16 the wife don't have to leave the house. In conclusion equity came into place because of the problems in the common law and is believed to have brought fairness and justice where the common law was unsuccessful and it is said that "equity provides a gloss on common law". ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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