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MAXIM

He Who Seeks Equity Must Do Equity

UBAID UR REHMAN
3144-FSL/LLB/F-10

Submitted to
Mr. Sardar waqar
Dated
29-04-2015

INTRODUCTION
The maxims of equity may fairly be described as a set of general principles
which are said to govern the way in which equity operates. They tend to
illustrate the qualities of equity, in contrast to the common law, as more
flexible, responsive to the needs of the individual. It cannot be said that there is
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a definitive list of the maxims: different sources give different examples. Above
all, the maxims are applied only when the court feels it appropriate: none of the
maxims is in the nature of a binding rule and for each maxim it is possible to
find as many instances of its not having been applied as instances where it has
been.
Maxims of equity are not a rigid set of rules, but are, rather, general principles
which can be deviated from in specific cases. Snell's Equity, an English treatise,
takes the view that the "Maxims do not cover the whole ground, and moreover
they overlap, one maxim contains by implication what belongs to another.
Indeed it would not be difficult to reduce all under two: 'Equity will not suffer a
wrong to be without a remedy' and 'Equity acts on the person'"
To receive equitable relief, the petitioning party must be willing to complete all
of its own obligations as well. The applicant to a court of equity is just as much
subject to the power of that court as the defendant. This maxim may also
overlap with the clean hands maxim
Maxims are the principles developed by lord chancellors exercising on behalf of
the crown.

He Who Seeks Equity Must Do Equity


Meaning

The maxim means that to obtain an equitable relief the plaintiff must himself
be prepared to do equity, that is, a plaintiff must recognize and submit to the
right of his adversary. Scriptures of Islam also inform us to be conscientious,
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because you must do to your neighbor what you wish him to do unto you. There
must be reciprocity.i
This maxim means that all persons seeking equitable relief must accord to the
other parties concerned all the equitable rights in the subject matter to which
they are entitled. Under this principle one who has failed to perform his own
obligations under a contract, cannot compel the other to perform.
To receive equitable relief, the petitioning party must be willing to complete all
of its own obligations as well. The applicant to a court of equity is just as much
subject to the power of that court as the defendant. This maxim may also
overlap with the clean hands maxim

Cases and application


The application of this maxim is not limited to the complainant; it is available
against a cross-defendant, and sometimes even against a defendant. The
Supreme Court of the United States said on in the case of Brown vs. Lake
Superior Iron Co
"The maxim 'He who seeks equity must do equity,' is as appropriate to the
conduct of the defendant as to that of the complainant; and it would be strange
if a debtor, to destroy equality and accomplish partiality, could ignore its long
acquiescence and plead an unsubstantial technicality to overthrow protracted,
extensive, and costly proceedings carried on in reliance upon its consent.
Surely no such imperfection attends the administration of a court of equity.
Good faith and early assertion of rights are as essential on the part of the
defendant as of the complainant."ii
Where in the case of Chappell v Times Newspapers iii it is clarified that a
contract is rescinded the party seeking rescission must be prepared to return all
benefi ts received under it. A creditor may not be able to recover the full
amount of a debt if the debtor can set off money owed to him by the creditor.

This maxim has application in the following doctrinesi) Illegal loans


ii) Doctrine of Election
iii) Consolidation of mortgages
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iv) Notice to redeem mortgage


v) Wifes equity to settlement
vi) Equitable estoppel
vii) Restitution of benefits on cancellation of transaction
viii) Set-off

Recognition
i) Under sec 19-A of the Contract Act, 1872 if a contract becomes voidable and
the party who entered into the contract voids the contract, he has return the
benefit of the contract.
ii) sec 35 of the Transfer of Property Act embodies the principle of election.
iii) Sec 51 and 54 of the Transfer of Property Act.
iv) In Order 8, Rule 6 of the CPC, the doctrine of Set-off is recognized.

Limitations

There are some limitations to it as well. Such as


1) Cannot apply against the state legislature
2) To acts of parliament because they are no representations
3) No one can be compelled to act against the statute.
4) Even where the liability or obligation is imposed by statutes.
5) Where there is statutory prohibition.
6) The demand for an equitable relief must arise from a suit that is pending.
7) This maxim is applicable to a party who seeks an equitable relief.

Conclusion

The maxim of equity is general principles and is not rigid rules. They are applied by the courts when they found any
law not fulfilling the true sense of justice. There are certain maxims of equity which are applied by the courts at
times.
This maxim means that all persons seeking equitable relief must accord to the other parties concerned all the
equitable rights in the subject matter to which they are entitled. Under this principle one who has failed to perform
his own obligations under a contract, cannot compel the other to perform.
This maxim is applied in a number of cases and is recognized by transfer of property act and contract act etc. there
is also some limitations of this maxim, some of them are stated above.

i B.M. Gandhi, Equity, Trusts and specific relief, mansoor book house, chapter III/2001
edition, 44
ii http://chestofbooks.com/society/law/Popular-Law-7/Section-15-He-Who-Seeks-Equity-Must-DoEquity.html#.VT-ubSFViko#ixzz3YcZhnUIT (last visited: 19 April 2015)

iii Chappell v Times Newspapers [1975] 2 All ER 233