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Development of case law

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Assignment 1.1 When William 1 arrived in England in 1066 he began to lay the basis for the development of common law. He did this gradually using subtle tactics. First of all he introduced the feudal system, this was where all the land belonged to the King and bits of this was granted to people who supported him and were willing to do something in return for the land. Land could have been of great benefit to some at this time for example it may have been used to make a living for many, so therefore more people would have been willing to offer the King services. The people who did gain land passed it on to their follows and so eventually the King gained control of the whole country. This contributed to the development of common law as having control over the whole country brings a lot of power with it and therefore he was able to take the next step. ...read more.


This was because when a case arose which was not covered by an existing writ a new one had to be created but this system was stopped by the end of the 13th century. Both of these problems were major floors in the system. Some started arguing that the common law system was too inflexible and some that 'equity varied with the length of the Chancellor's foot or in other words, it was unreliable and never the same. Gradually over years he gathered together a large body of principles which gave rise to equity. Equity is different to common law in that common law could be said to be inflexible as there is not much leeway with it whereas equity has a lot of flexibility. The Earl of Oxford's case was important because the outcome said that equity always prevails which is a rule we still stand by. This was an important outcome as if otherwise we might be standing by other rules now. ...read more.


They are there to ensure that the decision is morally fair. Some of these include 'one who seeks equity must do equity', this means that in order to receive equity the person who is claiming it must be fair themselves, for example snidely remarks would in most cases mean that their equity suits would almost certainly turn out badly. Another one is that 'one who comes into equity must come with "clean hands" ', this means that it will not permit a party to profit from it's own wrong for example if someone wants their tenant to leave they can't have violated the tenants rights. Another common maxim of equity is that 'between equal equities the law will prevail', this means that equity doesn't provide any remedies if the parties are equal and if neither has done any wrong. Nowadays there is still a body of rules of equity which is different from common law rules, yet acts as an addition to it. Although they are used by the same courts the two branches of the law are separate. Where there is conflict equity still prevails. Sarah Perry ...read more.

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