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Дом Task 4. Use the information given in the text to answer the questions. Discuss your answers with the group.
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In a general sense equity means fairness. In English law, equity means that body of rules originally enforced only by the Court of Chancery. Equity has been described as “a gloss (meaning a supplement) on the common law”, filling in the gaps and making the English legal system more complete.

Petitions from persons unable to obtain justice in the common law courts were sent to the King as “fountain of justice”. These petitions were sometimes examined by the King and Council and the relief was granted or refused. Later, due to pressure of business in the Council, the petitions were sent to the Lord Chancellor who, as Chief Secretary of State and “Keeper of the King’s Conscience”, dealt with them alone. The petitions were usually in the form of allegations that:

a. The common law was defective, e.g. the law of contract was undeveloped and inadequate to serve the growing needs of suitors.

b. The remedy of the common law courts, namely damages, was not always a satisfactory relief.

c. The defendant was too powerful; people of wealth and power in a county could overawe a court and intimidate jurors.

d. The court lacked jurisdiction to decide certain cases, e.g. where foreign merchants were suitors.

By the end of the fifteenth century the Chancellor had set up a separate court which dealt with petitions for relief. The Chancellor was not bound by the writ system or the technical and formal rules of the common law, and considered petitions on the basis of conscience and right.

At first the Chancellor used to consult the Council and sometimes the common law judges, but eventually it became customary to summon the parties to the dispute to appear before the Chancellor alone to answer “interrogatories” (specific questions relevant to the issue) and to unburden their consciences so that the truth could be ascertained and justice done.

The Court of Chancery proved popular with litigants and this caused friction with the common law courts. Jurisdiction was lost to the Chancery Court. Sometimes the courts of common law and the Chancery Court issued contradictory verdicts, and relations between the courts became difficult. The dispute came to a head under James I (1603-25) in the Earl of Oxford’s case (1616). The common law courts, headed by Chief Justice Coke, gave a judgment which was alleged to have been obtained by fraud. The Chancellor, Lord Ellesmere, issued an injunction preventing the successful party from proceeding to enforce the judgment, whereupon the dispute was referred to the King for decision. The King sought the views of Sir Francis Bacon (Attorney-General) who advised that where common law and equity conflicted, equity should prevail. Although competition between the courts of common law and equity continued, the right of the Chancellor to grant injunctions thereafter was not seriously challenged. Matters were finally resolved by the passing of the Judicature Acts, 1873-5.

These Acts set up a new structure of courts known as the Supreme Court of Judicature. In addition the Acts laid down four important principles:

a. Equity and common law should in future be administered side by side in all courts.

b. Where there is a conflict between a rule of equity and a rule of common law with reference to the same matter, the rule of equity should prevail.

c. Evidence could be given in court orally.

d. Rules of the Supreme Court of Judicature were to be formulated with regard to procedural matters.

The final result of the Acts was the fusion of administration of both common law and equity. Certain matters, e.g. trusts, originally dealt with by the Court of Chancery were assigned with other matters to the Chancery Division of the High Court. All courts could henceforward award common-law remedies, e.g. damages, and grant the special equitable remedies of which the following are the most important:

a. Injunction, an order of the court in the form of a decree compelling the defendant in a case to cease from doing certain acts.

b. Specific Performance of contracts where the common law remedy of damages is inadequate to compensate the plaintiff.

c. Rescission of Contracts.

d. Rectification.

e. Relief against Penalties, Fraud, and Undue Influence.

These remedies are at the discretion of the court unlike the common law remedy of damages which is “of right”. The discretion is exercised on equitable principles, e.g. “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.

Task 2. Match the following words & expressions with their Ukrainian equivalents.


1. court of common law a. судова заборона
2. rescission b. міри покарання за правом справедливості
3. overawe c. засіб судового захисту
4. equitable remedies d. Акт про судоустрій
5. injunction e. ліквідація, відміна
6. equitable rules  
7. relief f. норми звичаєвого права
8. the Court of Chancery g. примушувати до покори, залякувати
  h. суд звичаєвого права
9. rules of common law i. норми права справедливості
10. Judicature Act j. канцлерський суд


1. to obtain justice a. створити Верховний суд
2. to set up a special court b. займатися, мати справу
3. to cause friction c. дістати правосуддя
4. to deal with d. створити спеціальний суд
5. to prevail e. спричинити суперечку
6. to petition smb. f. виправлення помилок, внесення поправок
7. to summon the parties g. застосовувати норми права справедливості
8. rectification h. подавати прохання до когось
9. to establish the Supreme Court i. переважати
10. administer equity j. викликати сторони

Task 3. Find in the text the words that correspond to the following definitions & translate them into Ukrainian.

a. to order to come; send for, esp to attend court, by issuing a summons

b. body of law developed by the Court of Chancery;

c. an instruction or order issued by a court to a party to an action, esp to refrain from some act, such as causing a nuisance;

d. someone involved in a lawsuit;

e. a formal application in writing made to a court asking for some specific judicial action;

f. redress of a grievance or hardship;

g. to prove to be guiltless or blameless;

h. to annul or repeal,to put an end to, as laws, customs, or conditions of existence.

1. Why was the Court of Chancery set up?

2. What did the petitions deal with?

3. What are equitable remedies?

4. Which rules prevail in case of conflict between rules of law and equity?

5. What principles were laid down after the Judicature Act 1873?

6. What was the result of the Judicature Act 1873?

7. Do the rules of equity remain different from the rules of common law?