Court of Equity

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Traditionally, English courts followed a distinction between courts of law and courts of equity.  A court of equity is a type of court that hears cases involving remedies other than monetary damages, such as injunctions, writs, or specific performance and a court of law, only hears cases involving monetary damages.  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 Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Tennessee) can be considered as a remaining examples of courts of equity.

[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]