Equity doesn’t exist in Common Law which gave rise to the validity and fairness in which rooted in the Common Law
The common law rigor doesn’t recognise the equitable interests of beneficiaries so after a ruling in a common law court was made, people would present a petition to the king (OR BILL) for ‘fairness’, and relied on the Kings conscience to make fair his decision on the case. Because of the popularity of such action the King passed his decisions onto The Chancellor which gave birth to the Courts of Chancery or courts of equity (fairness).
So while, at common law, the owner of the estate in question is the legal title holder, we have an equitable claim in the Chancery to the estate in equity being that of a private claim to it not recognised by the common law of the land.
“For most of the history of the common law, there were two sets of courts, the courts of common law and of equity. Equity had a vigorous separate existence for nearly 500 years, though some attempt was made to assimilate the remedies granted by the Court of Chancery into the common law courts. Thus under the Common Law Procedure Act 1854 the common law courts were given some power to award equitable remedies and the Chancery Amendment Act 1858 gave the Chancellor the power to grant damages in addition to, or in substitution for, an injunction or a decree of specific performance. Consequently, a certain rivalry developed between the two courts and this came to a head in the Earl of Oxford’s Case (1616) 1 Rep Ch 1 in which the common law court gave a verdict in favour of one party and the Court of Equity then issued an injunction to prevent that party enforcing that judgement. The dispute was referred to the King who asked the Attorney-General to make a ruling. It was decided that in cases of conflict between common law and equity, equity was to prevail. From that time on the common law and equity worked together, side by side. The Judicature Acts 1873-75 rationalised the position. They created one system of courts by amalgamating the common law courts and the court of equity to form the Supreme Court of Judicature which would administer common law and equity. It was foreseen that a court which applied the rules both of common law and of equity would face a conflict where the common law rules would produce one result, and equity another. Section 25 of the Judicature Act 1873 provided that if there was any conflict between these principles, then equity was to prevail. However, this did not fuse the principles of common law and equity, which still remain as separate bodies of rules. “The two streams have met and still run in the same channel, but their waters do not mix” (Maitland).” Read more: Equity came not to destroy law | Law Teacher http://www.lawteacher.net/finance-law/essays/equity-came-not-to-destroy-law.php#ixzz2TYU1DSAb
Common Law and its unfairness
Due to common law not recognising its equitbale interst holders. the common law ruling would easily make an individual pay a debt twice over in which we will explain:
When someone borrows money to an individual, a title gets split creating what is know as a trust. Any trust has 3 elements to it, or 3 parties:
- Grantor: the one who creates the trust and determines its terms
- Trustee: The one who controls the trust property and abides by the terms
- Beneficiary: The one who receives a benefit from the trust
After the trust has been created between the parties, a title is than split between the two or more parties:
- Legal Title: Whomever holds Legal title has the controlling position and can determine the way in which the trust is to be treated according to its constitution (Original promise)
- Equatable Title: Whoever holds Equitable title has only the right to benefit from such a trust
Now going back to the Common law. Due to the common law not recognsing its equtable holders, if lets say you borrowed money from party A (Mathew) and agree to pay Mathew back in 2 weeks. if 2 weeks come and you Mathew back settling your debt. Id Mathew than decides to turn things around and say you have not paid him and decides to go to court with his claim. the common law would uphold his claim due to not having any equtable holders as tha was the way common law worked. so the couts woul make Party B (Bob) oay again his already paid debt.
Now of course if there was in writing such an agreemant and it was signed by Mathew that Bob did indeed pay ff his debt, than there would be no case. This scenario is an assumption that Bob had no written confirmation or that he may have lost his written confirmaton of such debt.
And therefore, the rise of Equity courts to be able to bring in a sense of fairness to individuals. Common Law was too rigid and in many cases had caused more harm to its defendants than good.