Law vs Equity
“Law” is defined as “the body of rules that governs the activities of the community and which is executed by its political authority.” It is a legal system established as a set of rules on how people of the community should treat each other. It is regulated by the government and enforced by the courts. It is designed to create order, advocating freedom while at the same time enforcing order so that people can live harmoniously with each other.
The common law was developed by the English Royal Courts. It is a body of laws which is based on customs and the judicial decisions of previous court cases or precedents rather than on statutory laws. The purpose for adapting this law is to have an anticipated and foreseeable outcome on specific activities. It is meant to guarantee a consistent and uniform application of the law in situations that are alike. It is based on the principle that treating similar situations or facts differently in different occasions is unfair or unjust. So when parties disagree on the interpretation of the law in certain cases, the court follows decisions made for the same situation in the past.
It was also in Middle Age England where the concept of equity was developed as a supplement to the strict set of rules or laws which were considered too rough when applied to certain cases. It is a body of principles which advocates fairness and follows the natural law. When decisions on certain cases were considered unfair, the defendant could appeal to the King of England who later delegated the responsibility to the chancellor. Early chancellors were nobles or clergymen. After the 17th century, however, only lawyers were appointed chancellors.
Equity allows courts to apply justice based on natural law and on their discretion. Whenever there is a disagreement as to the application of common law, equity is applied. The most distinct difference between law and equity lies in the solutions that they offer.
Common law usually awards monetary damages in certain cases, but equity can decree for someone to act or not to act on something. In cases wherein the aggrieved party does not want monetary damages, the defendant can be ordered to return what he has taken.
Law courts can order writs which are harder to obtain and are less flexible than injunctions which are ordered by equity courts. While a law court can involve a jury, there is no jury involved in equity; the judge solely decides cases.
1.Law is the body of rules which are regulated by the government and enforced by the courts while equity is a set of rules which follows the natural law and fairness.
2.In a court of law, defendants can be ordered to pay monetary damages while in equity, if the complainant wants to get back what is taken from him instead of getting money, the court can order the defendant to do so.
3.Law can order writs while equity can order injunctions.
4.In a court of law, a case is heard by a jury and the judge while in equity only the judge settles a case.