court of law

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Traditionally, English courts followed a distinction between courts of law and courts of equity.  Courts of law heard cases that only involved monetary damages while courts of equity heard cases that involved remedies other than monetary damages, such as injunctions, writs, or specific performance.  This distinction 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.  Thus, almost all courts today, with the exceptions of bankruptcy courts and certain state courts—perhaps most famously the Delaware Court of Chancery—are deemed as courts of law that can consider all remedies, monetary or otherwise.  

A court of law may also be used to refer to a court that decides cases on the basis of law.

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