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A Casebook on Equity and Trusts in Ireland

II. Equity Follows the Law

In Chapter 1: Fundamental Principles

A Casebook on Equity and Trusts in Ireland

J.C.W. Wylie
Bloomsbury Professional
Second edition
Publication Date:
Law As Stated At:
1 May 1998
At first sight this may appear a somewhat contradictory maxim, especially in view of the provision in s 28(11) of the Judicature (Ireland) Act 1877, referred to under the previous heading. What it illustrates, however, is equity’s historical approach to the exercise of its jurisdiction. Equity did not purport to deny the existence of legal rights but rather concentrated upon the conscience of the owners of those rights and tried to ensure that they exercised them in a fair and just manner. A good illustration, which is often encapsulated in the sub-maxim - “Equity will not allow a statute to be used as an instrument of fraud”, is the development by equity of the doctrine of secret trusts (see Ch 11 post ) and the doctrine of part performance (see Ch 6 post ). If equity did not feel the need to intervene on the ground of good conscience, it would ...
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