MAXIMS OF EQUITY
Maxims of equity are legal maxims that are used to describe a collection of overarching ideas or guidelines that are believed to control how equity functions.
MAXIMS OF EQUITY
Maxims of equity are legal maxims that are used to describe a collection of overarching ideas or guidelines that are believed to control how equity functions. They frequently serve as examples of how equity, as opposed to common law, is more adaptable, receptive to the demands of the person, and disposed to take into account the conduct and merit of the parties.
Maxims of equity are not a rigid set of rules, but are, rather, general principles which can be derived from in specific cases.
Snell's Equity, an English treatise, takes the view that the "Maxims do not cover the whole ground, and moreover they overlap, one maxim contains by implication what belongs to another. Indeed it would not be difficult to reduce all under two:'Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy' and 'Equity acts on the person'".
Here are the list of Maxims Of Equity;
1. Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy: When seeking an equitable relief, the one that has been wronged has the stronger hand. The stronger hand is the one that has the capacity to ask for a legal remedy (judicial relief). In equity, this form of remedy is usually one of specific performance or an injunction (injunctive relief).
2. Equity is a sort of equality Aequitas est quasi aequalitas: Where two persons have an equal right, the property will be divided equally. This maxim flows from the fundamental notion of equality or impartiality due to the conception of Equity and is the source of many equitable doctrines. The maxim is of very wide application. The rule of ordinary law may give one party an advantage over the other. But the court of equity, where it can, puts the litigating parties on a footing of equality. Equity proceeds in the principle that a right or liability should as far as possible be equalized among all interested. In other words, two parties have equal right in any property, so it is distributed equally as per the concerned law.
3. One who seeks equity must do equity: To receive equitable relief, the petitioning party must be willing to complete all of its own obligations as well. The applicant to a court of equity is just as much subject to the power of that court as the defendant.
4. Equity regards as done what ought to be done: “It is a fiction of equity designed to effectuate the obvious intention of the parties and to promote justice.” Rodeck v. U.S., 697 F. Supp. 1508 (D. Minn. 1988).
5. Equity aids the vigilant, and not those who slumber on their rights: This is the basis for the equitable defense of laches. See Eason v. Whitmer, Case No. 20-12252 (E.D. Mich. Sep. 9, 2020) (quoting Hays v. Port of Seattle, 251 U.S. 233, 239 (1920)).
6. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands: This maxim is linked to the previous maxim and relates to the past conduct of parties. They must not have had any involvement in fraud or misrepresentation or they will not succeed in equity
7. Equity looks to the intent rather than the form: Principle established in (Parkin v Thorold 1852). This maxim is where the equitable remedy for rectification was established this allows for a contract to be corrected when the terms are not correctly recorded. This maxim allows the judge to interpret the intentions of the parties if the terms aren’t recorded properly.
8. Equity imputes an intention to fulfil an Obligation: If a person completes an act that could be regarded as fulfilling an original obligation it will be taken as such.
9. Equity acts in personam: This maxim states that equity relates to a person rather than their property. It applies to property outside a jurisdiction provided that a defendant is within the jurisdiction.
10.Equity follows the law: Courts will firstly apply common law and if this is not fair then an equitable remedy will be provided. This maxim sets out that equity is not in place to overrule judgements in common law but rather to make sure that parties don’t suffer an injustice.
11. Equity abhors a forfeiture: Today, a mortgagor refers to his interest in the property as his "equity". The origin of the concept, however, was actually a mirror-image of the current practice.
12. Equity does not require an idle gesture Also: Equity will not compel a court to do a vain and useless thing. It would be an idle gesture for the court to grant reformation of a contract and then to deny to the prevailing party an opportunity to perform it as modified.
13. Equity delights to do justice and not by halves When a court of equity is presented with a good claim to equitable relief, and it is clear that the plaintiff also sustained monetary damages, the court of equity has jurisdiction to render legal relief, e.g., monetary damages. Hence equity does not stop at granting equitable relief, but goes on to render a full and complete collection of remedies.
14. Equity will take jurisdiction to avoid a multiplicity of suit When a court of equity is presented with a good claim to equitable relief, and it is clear that the plaintiff also sustained monetary damages, the court of equity has jurisdiction to render legal relief, e.g., monetary damages. Hence equity does not stop at granting equitable relief, but goes on to render a full and complete collection of remedies.
15. Equity will take jurisdiction to avoid a multiplicity of suits Thus, "where a court of equity has all the parties before it, it will adjudicate upon all of the rights of the parties connected with the subject matter of the action, so as to avoid a multiplicity of suits. This is the basis for the procedures of inter-pleader, class action, and the more rarely used Bill of Peace.
16. Equity will not assist a volunteer: “An unjust enrichment claim will not lie, however, if the benefit is conferred ‘by a volunteer or intermeddler.’” Al-Sabah v. World Bus. Lenders, LLC, Case No. SAG-18-2958 (D. Md. Jul. 9, 2020). And conversely, in restitution claims, equity will not create a quasi-contract to a promisee if no consideration was provided (a “volunteer” in 18th Century English).
17. Equity will not complete an imperfect gift: “Equity will not make [a trust] where none has been clearly declared. A defective or imperfect gift will not be converted into a trust.” Weil v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 82 F.2d 561 (5th Cir. 1936).
18. Where equities are equal, the law will prevail: “In any event the equity of the taxpayer is no greater than that of the United States and when equities are equal, the legal title will prevail.” Travel Industries of Kansas v. U.S., 425 F.2d 1297 (10th Cir. 1970).
19. Between equal equities the first in order of time shall prevail: The general principle with regard to real property is “first in time, first in right.” Bank of Am., N.A. v. Esplanade at Damonte Ranch Homeowners’ Ass’n, 3:16-CV-00116-RCJ-VPC (D. Nev. May 23, 2017). Comparing timing with legal and equitable claims, “[u]nder the common law, an earlier claim had priority over a later claim if both claims were legal claims . . . The same was true if both claims were equitable . . . [order in time] only mattered under the common law where [one party] had a legal claim and a competing earlier claim to the property was purely equitable.” Id.
20. Equity will not allow a statute to be used as a cloak for fraud: “Courts of equity, independently of any statute, will relieve against fraud, if proceedings are seasonably brought after its discovery. Indeed, to use the language of Lord Cottenham, a court of equity will wrest property fraudulently acquired, not only from the perpetrator of the fraud, but ‘from his children and his children’s children,’ or, as was said in another English case, ‘from any person to whom he may have parcelled out the fruits of his fraud.’” Citizens Bank v. Leffler, 228 Md. 262, 269 (Md. 1962).
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