In terms of judicial reasoning and court rulings, common law and equity law are similar. While common law usually awards monetary damages to the victim of an action, equity often imposes different conditions on the offending party. For example, equity courts can order that a person return stolen property, although this is unlikely to be equitable. A person may also ask for the return of property, depending on the circumstances.
Another major difference between common law and equity law is the concept of trust. While common law does not recognize trust, courts of equity have been creative in creating remedies for breach of trust. In many cases, a common law remedy cannot provide a remedy for an action. An example of this is the land registration act, which cuts across the line between legal and equitable rights. It is an example of how common law and equity law differ in their approach to property disputes.
While common law has more rules and regulations and a broader history, equity has historically provided additional remedies. Examples of equity remedies include specific performance, rescission, and rectification. Specific performance involves compelled performance of the defendant’s part of a bargain, while an injunction prevents someone from performing a particular act. Both types of remedies are subject to the judge’s discretion. It is important to remember that, unlike common law, equity remedies are often governed by a judge’s discretion.