Court of Equity/Chancery Law and Legal Definition

Courts of equity are courts that have jurisdiction in equity. Equity courts administer and decide controversies in accordance with the rules, principles, and precedents of equity. It follows the forms and procedures of chancery.

Judge of a court of equity is known as Chancellor. The most general description of a court of equity is that it has jurisdiction in cases where a plain, adequate and complete remedy cannot be had at law. The jurisdiction of a court of equity is sometimes concurrent with that of courts of law and sometimes it is exclusive. It exercises concurrent jurisdiction in cases where the rights are purely of a legal nature. Exclusive jurisdiction exercised in granting special relief beyond the reach of the common law.

American courts of equity are mostly distinct from those of law. Some tribunals exercise the jurisdiction both of courts of law and equity though their forms of proceeding are different in their two capacities. The Supreme Court of the United States and the circuit courts are invested with general equity powers and act either as courts of law or equity, according to the form of the process and the subject of adjudication. In some states like New York, Virginia, and South Carolina, the equity court is a distinct tribunal, having its appropriate judge, or chancellor, and officers.