Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Wikipedia.


equity, principles of justice originally developed by the English chancellor. In Anglo-American jurisprudence equitable principles and remedies are distinguished from the older system that the common law courts evolved. One of the earliest functions of the king's chaplain (the chancellor) and of the chancery (the office that he headed) was to govern access to the royal courts by issuing on application the appropriate original writ. At first the chancellor had great discretion in framing writs, but in time he was limited to a few rigidly circumscribed forms, and in certain cases worthy claims could not be satisfied. From this inadequacy arose the practice of appealing directly for aid to the chancellor as the “keeper of the king's conscience.” By the early 16th cent. a fairly well-defined jurisdiction was exercised by the court of chancery in rivalry with the common law. In the 17th cent. it was definitely established that the court of chancery would decide any claim to jurisdiction that the courts of common law disputed. The early chancellors purported to dispense equity in its original sense of fair dealing, and they cut through the technicalities of common law to give just treatment. Some of their principles were derived from Roman law and from canon law. Soon, however, equity amassed its own body of precedents and tended to rigidity. Equity, even in its more limited modern sense, is still distinguished by its original and animating principle that no wrong should be without an adequate remedy. Among the most notable achievements of equity were the trust and the injunction. Because the decree (final order) of an equity court operated as an order of the king, disobedience might be punished as contempt; in legal remedies, on the contrary, the plaintiff was limited to enforcing his (monetary) judgment. The fact that equity trials were decided without a jury was thought advantageous in complex cases. The coexistence of different systems of justice and delays in the courts of chancery came to present such great procedural difficulties that in England the Judicature Act was adopted (1873) to amalgamate law and equity. In the United States amalgamation had begun with the New York procedure code (1848) drafted by David Dudley Field. Today only a few of the states have separate equity courts. Of the remaining states some divide actions and (to a lesser extent) remedies into legal and equitable, while the others have almost entirely abolished the distinction. Even in those states where law and equity remain unmerged, they are often handled by two sides of the same court, with relatively simple provisions for the transfer of a case that is brought on the wrong side.


See F. W. Maitland, Equity (1909, repr. 1969); R. A. Newman, Equity in Law (1961); H. G. Hanbury, Modern Equity (9th ed., ed. by R. H. Maudsley, 1969); G. H. Webb and T. C. Bianco, Equity (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


A building or suite of rooms designed to house any of the following: a low court with special functions, archives, a secretarial, a chancellery.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


A building or suite of rooms designed to house any of the following: a lawcourt with special functions, archives, a secretariat, a chancellery.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In recent years, the Court of Chancery has expanded its use of judge-conducted mediation.
The Chancery Court dismissed the Englewood Citizens' second and third causes of action on February 5, 1998.
Some of the chancery office building's existing finishes were quite beautiful, and therefore many of the materials used to construct the original building - including brick, concrete columns, buxy gris stone, maple ceilings, and terrazzo and hard-stone floors - were salvaged and reinstalled, or protected and refinished.
After he defined the role of the other courts, he explained at some length the function of the Chancery, which he called |a Court of Equitie' (334).
Teikmanis said that as the head of the Presidential Chancery his main task is assist the president in achieving all of his objectives and visions, which is why he is confident the president will be active in dealing with both domestic and foreign policy matters.
Rent-A-Center Inc (NASDAQ:RCII) revealed on Thursday that after the trial, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (the Court of Chancery) ruled that the company had validly terminated the Agreement and Plan of Merger dated 17 June 2018, by and among the company and some affiliates of Vintage Capital Management LLC.
With those provisions removed, Schnatter has agreed to dismiss without prejudice the lawsuit he filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, to avoid a costly and expensive proxy contest by identifying a mutually acceptable independent director to serve on the Board in his place, and to withdraw his notice to nominate himself for election to the Board at the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders and to step down from the board.
Ireland-based real estate investment trust Hibernia REIT plc has sold the Dublin, Ireland-based property office and apartment company Chancery, D8 for EUR 23.8m (USD 28.6m), the company said.
The team acts across all areas of commercial, banking and Chancery law, and is viewed as having 'deep insolvency experience'.
The Grade II-listed building, which is opposite John Lewis and Salt House Tapas, at the entrance to Liverpool One, was built as Chancery House in 1899 for the Gordon Smith Institute for Seamen Charity and provided help to seafarers who had fallen on hard times.
Sloan, an experienced Chancery Court litigator who represents clients in breach of fiduciary duty claims, shareholder and corporate governance disputes, has recently joined ...