HISTORY OF EQUITY
The common law showed greater elasticity in its administration during its formative
period, and equity, in the sense of even-handed justice, was considered where no precedent
existed. Right reason guided the Curia Regis (King's Court) where there was no defined
course. The award of remedies was as discretionary as those ultimately awarded by the
But the King's Court's Jurisdiction could only be invoked with a writ procured from the
King’s Chancery. The writ specified the wrong complained of with a directive that the
named person should right the wrong, or proceed to the King's Court to show why he was
The clerks in the King's Chancery in course of time expressed injuries of common
occurrence in the same terms and a writ which acquired a common form was dubbed
"brevium de corsu" - Thus we had Writ of Debt. Gradually most of the writs acquired their
respective peculiar technicalities. Where one sued out a Writ of Covenant he had to establish
his claim by demonstrating, and adducing evidence to show that the covenant was sealed.
Where he failed to do that his claim was dismissed irrespective of its merits.
This writ system introduced some rigidity into the common law administration. The
system became so stereotyped that it looked like a pigeon-hole structure. There might be an
obvious wrong but if the relief claimed could not be fitted into any of the pre-existing writs
there would be no remedy and the victim might have to endure the wrong without a relief.
This gave rise to the rule expressed in Latin "ubi remedium ibi jus" - That is, literally, no
right could be recognised at the common law unless a writ existed which provided a remedy
for its breach.
Between the reign of Henry II and the enactment of Provisions of Oxford 1258 no
limitation was placed on the number and variety of writs which could be issued. But the
clerks were copying from old precedents, and, thus affecting the variety of writs which could
possibly be obtained. The number and variety of such writs