The establishment of the court of chancery in England made it necessary to give a name to the more ordinary branch of law that is the province of the common or ordinary courts: it is termed, the Common Law and in opposition to it, the extraordinary branch devolved on the court of chancery is termed Equity; the name being derived from the nature of the jurisdiction, directed less by precise rules, than secundum aequum et bonum(naturally just and good), or according to what the judge in conscience thinks right. Thus equity, in its proper sense, comprehends every matter of law that by the common law is left without remedy; and supposing the boundaries of the common law to be ascertained, there can no longer remain any difficulty about the powers of a court of equity.
We now come to a period of steady growth in the common law covering just over a century and a quarter (1272-1399). The reign of Edward I is marked by one of the greatest outbursts of reforming legislation in English history until the nineteenth century. The first Statute of Westminster (1275) made numerous changes in procedure, many of them designed to protect the subject against the King’s officers, for the evidence collected by the commission of inquiry set up in the previous year had revealed a good deal of oppression.
Law of England