Equity Follows the Law

Introduction:

Equity has no clash with law neither it overrides the provisions of law. Nor it is the enemy of law. It adopts and follows the basic rules of law. It is said that equity is not a body of jurisprudence acting contrary to law but is rather a supplement to law. It is a well known rule that equity follos the analogies of law. The equity came not to destroy the law but to fulfit it, to supplement it, to explain it. Equity respect every word of law.

Meaning

Equity is intended to supplement the law and not to supersede it.

Case law

Cowper vs. Cowper 1734, 2P WNS 720

The discretion of the court is to be governed by the rules of law and equity which are not oppose but each in tur to be subservient to other, this discretion in some cases follows the law implicity, in other assists it and advances the remedy; in other against it relieves against the abuse or allays the rigour of it but in no case does it contradict or overturn the grounds of principle thereof.

Application

It has application in the following two aspects.

1. As to legal estates, rights and interest:

As regards legal estates, right and interests, equity was and is strictly bound by the rules of law and it has no discretion to deviate there from. Equity does not allow an unfair use to be made of legal rights so equity follows in regard to the rule of primogeniture.

Case Law

Strickland vs. Aldrige 1804

It was held exclusion of the younger member of a family from property according to the rule of primogeniture does not create any particular circumstances entitling to a relief at equiry, because the eldest son gets only what he is entitled to get in law.

2. As to Equitable rights and interest:

In many cases, equity acts by analogy to the rules of law in relation to equitable titles and estates. Equitable estates are guided by the rules of decent as legal estate.

Important aspects of maxim:

Following are the two important aspects of this maxim.

Equity adopts and following the rules of law in all cases where applicable.

Equity follows the analogy of law

Exceptions:

Following are exceptions

i. Where a rule of law did not specifically apply.

ii. Where even by analogy the rule of law did not apply, equity formulated and applied it, own rules.

Ending Remarks:

To conclude it can be said that equity always follows the law in the sense of obeying it and conforming to its general rules and policy, whether contained in common law or statue law. The rules of equity can not override the specific provisions of law.

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