Equitable Remedy – a form of non-monetary relief that may be requested from the court

     There are several pre-constructed Civil Complaint forms on UScourts.gov which may be used for the purpose of commencing a civil action.  Each of them state the following under the category entitled “Relief”:

     “State briefly and precisely what damages or other relief the plaintiff asks the court to order….



3. The redress or benefit, especially equitable in nature (such as an injunction or specific performance), that a party asks of a court. — aka remedy.

     Excerpt from Douglas Laycock’s Modern American Remedies (2010):

     “A remedy is anything a court can do for a litigant who has been wronged or is about to be wronged.  The two most common remedies are judgments that plaintiffs are entitled to collect sums of money from defendants (damages) & orders to defendants to refrain from their wrongful conduct or to undo its consequences (injunctions).  The court decides whether the litigant has been wronged under the substantive law that governs primary rights & duties; it conducts its inquiry in accordance with the procedural law, & sometimes their details blur into procedure. For long periods in our past, remedies were casually equated with procedure.” [4]

Equitable Remedy – (18c) A remedy, usually a non-monetary one such as an injunction or specific performance, obtained when available legal remedies, usually monetary damages, cannot adequate] redress the injury.  *  Historically, an equitable remedy was available only from a court of equity. – Also termed equitable relief, equitable damages. See IRREPARABLE-INJURY RULE.

     Excerpt from John Norton Pomeroy’s A Treatise on Equity Jurisprudence (1918):

     “Where are certain species of equitable remedies which have become well established and familiarly known, and which are commonly designated by the term ‘equitable remedies’ wherever it is used. They may be separated into three classes:

1. Those which are entirely different from any kind of reliefs known and granted by the law.  Of this class are the preventive remedy of Injunction, the restorative remedy of Mandatory injunction, the remedies of Reformation, Specific Performance, and many others.
2. Those which the legal procedure recognizes, but does not directly confer, and the beneficial results of which it obtains in an indirect manner.  A familiar example is the relief of Rescission or Cancellation.  A court of equity entertains a suit for the express purpose of procuring a contract or conveyance to be canceled, and renders a decree conferring in terms that exact relief.  A court ‘of law entertains an action for the recovery of the possession of chattels, or, under some circumstances, for the recovery of land, or for the recovery of damages, and although nothing is said concerning it, either in the pleadings or in the judgment, a contract or a conveyance, as the case may be, is virtually rescinded; the recovery is based upon the fact of such rescission, and could not have been granted unless the rescission had taken place. Here the remedy of cancellation is not expressly asked for, nor granted by the court of law, but all its effects are indirectly obtained in the legal action. It is true, the equitable remedy is much broader in its scope, and more complete in its relief; for its effects are not confined to the particular action, but by removing the obnoxious instrument they extend to all future claims and actions based upon it.
3. Those which are substantially the same both in equity and at the law.  Familiar examples of this class are the partition of land among co-owners, and the admeasurement of dower, in which the final relief granted by equity is the same as that obtained through the now almost obsolete legal actions; the process of accounting and determining the balance in favor of one or the other party; and even, under special circumstances, the award of pecuniary damages expressly.” [5]

Restitution – a set of laws & remedies designed to help victims who were injured by acts of criminal fraud

n. (14c)

1. Criminal law. Punishment imposed for a serious offense; requital.  Cf. DETERRENCE; REHABILITATION (1)

2. Something justly deserved; repayment; reward. — retributive, adj.retribute, vb.

vb. (17c)

1. To reimburse (another) for a loss suffered because of a third party’s or one’s own act or default; HOLD HARMLESS. 

2. To promise to reimburse (another) for such a loss. 

3. To give (another) security against such a loss.indemnifiableadj.


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[4]: Douglas Laycock, Modern American Remedies 1 (4th ed. 2010)

[5]: 1 John Norton Pomeroy, A Treatise on Equity Jurisprudence 123-25 (John Norton Pomeroy Jr, ed., 4th ed. 1918)

[6]: 1 Howard C. Joyce, A Treatise on the Law Relating to
Injunctions § 1, at 2-3 (1909)

[7]: Douglas Laycock, The Death of the Irreparable Injury
Rule 9 (1991)


More Legal Term Definitions Categorized

Writs, Orders, & Motions

Rules of Procedure

Intro to Law

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