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This article is a topic within the subject Equity and Trusts.


Required Reading

M.W. Bryan & V.J. Vann, Equity and Trusts in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. Chapter 1. Chapter 7 (except 7.12-14) is good revision of what you should already know from Contracts.

What is equity?

Equity refers to the principles applied by judges where the law is deficient for some reason, such as its universality.

Equity supplements or corrects the common law but does not replace it and cannot exist independently.

Institutional equity

The essence of institutional equity is the creation of a special court, distinct from courts administering the general law, having the power to modify or correct the general law.

  • In England, this was the Court of Chancery until the enactment of mid-nineteenth century judicature legislation, which formed in response to the inflexibility of the writ system.
  • In Australia, several courts – including the High Court, Supreme Court of the States and Territories and numerous inferior courts – have inherited this jurisdiction.
  • Equitable principles are flexible and respond to changes in social and economic conditions.


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Textbook refers to M.W. Bryan & V.J. Vann, Equity and Trusts in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

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