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Equity

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We suggest you spend just a few minutes understanding the area of law known as  "Equity".

 

"Equity" is a branch of the law which generally relates with fairness.

 

Over the centuries the law has developed as a large body of rules through Court decisions  (known as the Common Law) and from Acts of Parliament  (known as Statute Law).

 

Sometimes these laws, in certain factual circumstances, can cause injustices where the rigid application of those laws create an obvious unfairness.

 

In some of these circumstances (not all) the Courts themselves have built up a body of rules known as the Law of Equity which can be used to correct an injustice when the strict application of the usual law might create that injustice.

Equity cannot be used simply as a substitute for the strict application of the common law.

But equity provides some powerful tools to the Courts to do justice in any particular set of circumstances.

A good example relates to the concept of fraud.

It would be quite wrong to apply a rigid principle of common law if the person benefiting from that rigid application of the law had placed him or herself in that position by his or her own fraud.

Principle: it is a principle of equity that the Courts would not allow a person to benefit from his or her own fraud.

Therefore, it is frequently necessary to stand back from any initial consideration of the common law and ask whether there are any equitable principles which might be able to be applied.

Equity may therefore be defined as a body of rules or principles which can be applied in some of the cases where the general rule of law might fail to do justice in a particular case.

Remember, equity may not be available to you in all cases, but it will be worth looking to see if it is.

The Twelve Maxims of Equity

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