Historically, a court of law is a court with the power to grant monetary damages. Traditionally, English courts followed a distinction between courts of law and the courts of equity, which could only grant remedies other than monetary damages, including 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 July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]