LS182_Basic_Concepts - LS182 Summary of Basic Concepts 1...

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LS182 – Summary of Basic Concepts: 1. Common Law: a. Historically, in England: Common Law courts were originally the courts that had jurisdiction over all the land, “common” law, as opposed to the courts of the lord of the manor. Common law courts contrast with the chancellery courts. Common law courts used writs: documents that specify the cause of action, you just fill in names and numbers. This means that the causes for applying to those courts were limited, as were the remedies these courts could grant. If you wanted to ask for something that the common law courts did not handle, you went to the king. The king was generally to busy hunting, womanizing, and going to war, so he delegated handling those issues to the chancellor. The chancellor was also busy with other things, so he created the chancellery courts. Like the king, from whom their power derived, they had power to handle any issue and give any remedy. They had power to enforce the king’s justice. This flexible power is known as the power of “equity”. For a while, there was a separation between courts that could only use common law forms and courts that had the wider and more flexible power of equity. In the United States, courts have both powers: they are not bound to certain grounds of actions, they can hear any case (with some exceptions that are mostly dead letter today) and have a wide variety of remedies.
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