court of equity

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A court of equity is a type of court with the power to grant remedies other than monetary damages. These remedies include injunctionswrits, or specific performance among others. Traditionally, English courts followed a distinction between courts of law, which could grant exclusively monetary damages, and courts of equity, which could not. The Court of Chancery was an example of an early English court of equity.

This distinction between the two types of courts has now largely been dissolved. In the United States, the adoption of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1938 gave courts a combined jurisdiction over matters of law and equity.  Bankruptcy courts and certain other state courts (in DelawareMississippiNew Jersey and Tennessee) can be considered as a remaining examples of courts of equity.

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]