Court of Chancery

The Occom Circle

Court of Chancery


In England, the Court of Chancery or equity developed in the 15th century under the jurisdiction of the lord chancellor to provide remedies in cases not covered by the courts of common law. These cases involved civil disputes between parties often about property. Because the Chancery Court was relatively efficient and fair, it began to encroach on the court of common law, which had become inflexible and complicated. By the 16th century, the chancellors of the Chancery, who had been clerics, were mostly lawyers who began using precedents to shape a set of rules, and by the mid-17th century, the decisions of the Court of Chancery about equity became a recognized part of English law. Today, the court is the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, which hears cases involving the administration of estates, mortgages, contract, lands sales and the like.


"Court of Chancery". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.