Common Law and Equity

Authors Avatar

AS Level Law

Sources of Law

Common Law and Equity

Q: Equity still has a role to play in English Law.

Critically discuss this statement.

        Equity was not always part of the common law. In pre 1066, there were no official set of laws, and people followed ‘customs’. Customs were things that people were used to doing. The common law was made when the Norman Judges went around travelling and collecting customs, and after putting the customs through a certain criteria, the customs became a law common to all i.e. common law. However, the common law was rigid and formal, and had very slow development so equity came in to make things fair and aided and it supplemented the common law when it was restricted. Equity is still needed to aid the English Law today and make the laws fair.

        In Pre 1066, England was only loosely united. There were no official set of common laws. The central government was seen as weak, and local areas of England governed themselves. Instead of official laws, people followed ‘customs’ or practised customary behaviour, meaning people followed tradition and did what they were used to doing. There were two different types of customs: General Customs and Local customs. General customs were customs that were applicable to everyone, meaning every one followed these customs. Local customs were customs that were only applicable to a certain local area, not across the country.

        Customs were brought together by Norman judges, when they travelled around and gathered customs. These customs had to meet a certain criteria before they were made into common law. The customs had to be reasonable, definite in nature and scope etc…

Join now!

        The development of the common law made a strong central government, and England was unified and controlled by a centralized crown. Laws were given out by the Justices in Eyre, or travelling judges, in the name of the King, the law was given out as a law common to all, and dispensed through the common law courts and the writ system.

        The common law operated through a writ system. A writ is a written command issued by the Lord Chancellor, which offers the defendant to explain why the crime was committed. The system was formal and rigid, bound by ‘no ...

This is a preview of the whole essay