The Five Maxims of Equity: KNEC Revision Questions & Answers

Explain five maxims of equity

The maxims of equity are a set of principles that guide the decisions of courts in equity cases. These principles aim to ensure fairness and justice in legal proceedings where strict application of the law might lead to unjust outcomes. The following are the five maxims of equity:

  • Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy: This maxim emphasizes that when someone has suffered a legal wrong or injury, they should have a legal remedy available to them. In other words, if there is a legal injury, there must be a legal remedy.
  • Equity follows the law: This maxim means that equity is not separate from the law but operates within the legal framework. It implies that the principles of equity should be applied in cases where the law is inadequate or ambiguous.
  • Where there is equal equity, the law must prevail: This maxim means that when two parties have equal claims to a right or property, the decision should be made in accordance with the law.
  • He who comes to equity must come with clean hands: This maxim implies that a person who seeks equity must have acted fairly and honestly in the matter at hand. A person who has engaged in wrongful conduct may not be entitled to equitable relief.
  • Equity regards substance rather than form: This maxim implies that in equity cases, the substance or essence of a matter is more important than its legal form. The court will look beyond the formalities of a case to ensure that justice is done.

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