Some Aspects of the Merger of Law and Equity

John L. Garvey, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law


Some confusion seems to confront us when we think of the place of equity in our law. We tend to think of equity only as a means of enforcing a handful of well-established equitable institutions, such as mortgages, trusts, etc., or as a means of granting specific rather than substitutional relief, and forget that the Court of Chancery was originally established to assure a fair and just resolution of those controversies that the common-law judges could not, or would not, satisfactorily resolve. A recent illustration of this confusion can be found in Evans v. Mason, where the court refused to permit the recovery of damages for breach of an oral contract because of the Statute of Frauds.