Describe and account for the historical development of equity and consider the contemporary significance of equitable principles."
The word 'equity' has a meaning of 'fairness', and this is the basis on which it operates, when adding to law. Equity is as important today, as it was historically, with many of today's legal concepts having developed from equitable principles.
Prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, there was no unitary, national legal system. The emergence of the common law represented the imposition of such a unitary system under the auspices and control of a centralised power in the form of a sovereign king.
King William 1st set out to consolidate the legal system of the country by introducing the General Eyre. The King sent representatives out from Westminster to all parts of the country to check upon the local administration, which included making records of the lands, collecting taxes as well as the growing function of dispute resolution. These representatives, on return from their travels, would discuss the outcome of the various dipute resolutions and the way in which similar disputes should be resolved on future travels. This led to the law gradually becoming 'common' to the whole of England and Wales and the evolution of Common Law. Equity developed because of problems in the Common Law.
There were three Common Law Courts to deal with particular disputes that emerged. These courts were: the Court of Exchequer, the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of King's Bench. Only certain types of case were recognised and the only remedy that was available through the Common Law Courts was damages. The law was also very technical; if there was an error in the formalities the person making the claim (Plaintiff) would lose the case. The inflexibility of the Common Law Writ system led to a great deal of harshness for would-be litigants as they could not bring their claims to court if there was (1) no remedy for them and, (2) if...