Equity Past Paper Question

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Discuss the extent to which equity has made an impact upon modern law [11] 

Equity began in 1345 when petitions from dissatisfied parties were sent to the Chancellor but equity became a  fully fledged body of law in 1474 when the Court of Chancery was established. In the Earl of Oxford's case 1615 it was held that should there be a conflict between equity and common law then equity will prevail. The purpose of equity is to fill the gaps that common law leave, this wouldn't be possible if equity was not the dominant form of law. Equity is essentially more just and can provide claimants with the outcome they need. 

Equity is governed by maxims, a case can only be based on a rule of equity if they have fulfilled the maxims. There are principles that protect the claimant and defendant from unfairness. An example of a maxim is: 'He who comes to equity must come with clean hands' This means that a claimant must not be in the wrong if they wish to receive an equitable remedy. In D&C Builders v Rees 1966, the couple had recently had some building work done on their property for which they had paid part of the fee in advance. Once the building had finished they were required to complete their payment in full. Despite the financial difficulties the couple knew the builders were suffering from, they refused to complete their payment because they believed the quality of the work to be poor. They applied for a promissory estoppel to ensure that an agreement for a lower sum payment is binding. Nevertheless, since the couple knew of the…


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