Equity soon began to develop case laws and precedent had to be followed which made equity no less rigid than common law. The Judicature Act of 1873-1875 established that both common law and equity could be administered in the same courts. Hence equity became rigid and may be immoral when the courts could not depart from binding decisions that are bad laws.
For example, the Anton Pillar Order is an order that allows the Claimant to enter the defendant’s premises to search and seize documents. It is used where there is a risk of the defendant disposing of the documents had he known of the application and he has to disclose the whereabouts and the supplier of the documents.
Mareva Injunction is an injunction that relates to the freezing of the assets of the defendant in the jurisdiction of the courts. This is to prevent the defendant disposing or destroying assets to avoid payment. This promotes flexibility as it has become easier for people to transfer assets in the modern society such as via internet.
The Promissory Estoppel is an order preventing the person from denying a promise that he had made. Several conditions have to be fulfilled such as:
- An existing relationship between the promisor and the promise.
- Detrimental reliance on the promisor by the promisee.
- Doctrine to be used as a shield and not as a sword.
- Inequitable for the promisor to go back on his word.
This is illustrated in the case of Central London Property Trust v High Tree House case. The defendant attempted to claim promissory estoppel where the Plaintiff wanted to claim for the full areas of rent that he had reduced during WW2. It was held that PE ceased when the conditions to which the representations applied came to an end, hence the defendant could not claim PE. Such creations highlights the idea of flexibility and morality as new remedies are made to solve modern problems.
Also, equity allows a mortgagor to repay back his loan after the date of redemption has passed as it recognises equity as the real owner of the property. The mortgagor’s equitable right to redeem is only recognised by equity. This shows that equity is flexible as it gives additional rights to citizens where common law would have been harsh or unfair.
The maxims of equity embody the principles which are general guidelines in which equitable jurisdiction is exercised.
Equity must follow law. In the case of Rhone v Stephens, equity did not depart from common law rule that a 3rd party cannot be made to perform a contract.
He who seeks equity must do equity. In Chappell v Times Newspapers case, the litigant failed to obtain an injunction as he refused to carry out his own future obligation.
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. In D&C Builders v Rees, Mr and Mrs Rees had taken advantage of the Builders financial situation and did not come to court with clean hands hence they were could not claim Promissory Estoppel.
Equity looks to the intent rather than form.
Delay defeats equity. In the case of Leaf v International Galleries, both parties unknowingly gone through a transaction thinking that they had a genuine Constable. However, the litigant tried to bring the case to court a few years later but was refused as it was over the limitation period.