Development of Common Law and Equity

Topics: Common law, Law, Judge Pages: 3 (1093 words) Published: October 7, 2008
Development of common law and equity

I have been asked to write a essay on the development of common law and equity. Common law refers to the law created by judges that was historically significant but has been since replaced by parliament common law is the basis of our law today it is an unwritten law that developed from customs and judicial decisions. It is parallel with equity which refers to the source of law created by the Lord Chancellor which was designed to supplement the common law and allow people the opportunity to avoid problems. Equity is 'the gloss on the common law'. The following essay will go through step by step on how common law and equity have developed between the years 1066 to our present day. In 1066 William the Conqueror invaded England, he found a country with no centralized legal system. It was William who set events in motion to bring about the system of law we have today. The law in 1066 was based on local custom with Local courts and Borough Courts applying the law as per the custom of the area. William decided to centralize the law establishing a strong central government to control the land. To do this he arranged all the local custom based laws, discarding the laws which would not work, and keeping the laws which he thought did work. Those laws which were kept were then applied in ‘common’ by all the courts across the country, this is why it was reffered to as common law. As well as this central government the king appointed judges who travelled to major towns to decide any important cases. By 1250 a common law had fully developed with rules, which applied to the whole country At first the common law system appeared to be fair but soon became rigid and fixed. A civil action could only be started by way of a writ. The writ sets out the cause of action and the grounds for the claim. Initially, when circumstances arose that were not covered by an existing writ, a new one was created. However, by the end of...
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