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equity - vocabulary

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noun

Characterized by fairness. In law, the term courts of equity refers to a parallel system of courts in England and, later, the United States, that could give remedies deemed inadequate in courts of law. The term equitable remedies refers to forms of relief such as injunctions and orders for specific performance, remedies unavailable under the common law. In finance, equity refers to the value of an asset, as in the equity in your house (value minus mortgage due).

Note: Below is an English writer commenting on the court of equity. The “Chancellor” is the judge presiding over a court of equity:

Equity is a roguish thing. For Law we have a measure, know what to trust to; Equity is according to the conscience of him that is Chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is Equity. ’T is all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a “foot” a Chancellor’s foot; what an uncertain measure would this be! One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot. ’T is the same thing in the Chancellor’s conscience.

—John Selden Table Talk. Equity.

Grammar.com's section on Problem Words discusses equable and equitable. Click here for that discussion.

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