|Legal remedies (Damages)|
A legal remedy, also judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will.
Civil law is a branch of the law. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales, the law of Pakistan and the law of the United States, the term refers to non-criminal law. The law relating to civil wrongs and quasi-contracts is part of the civil law, as is law of property. Civil law may, like criminal law, be divided into substantive law and procedural law. The rights and duties of persons amongst themselves is the primary concern of civil law. It is often suggested that civil proceedings are taken for the purpose of obtaining compensation for injury, and may thus be distinguished from criminal proceedings, whose purpose is to inflict punishment. However, exemplary damages or punitive damages may be awarded in civil proceedings. It was also formerly possible for common informers to sue for a penalty in civil proceedings.
The term sentence in law refers to punishment that was actually ordered by a trial court in a criminal procedure. A sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process as well as the symbolic principal act connected to their function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine, and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime. Those imprisoned for multiple crimes usually serve a concurrent sentence, while others serve a consecutive sentence. Additional sentences include intermediate, which allows an inmate to be free for about 8 hours a day for work purposes; determinate, which is fixed on a number of days, months, or years; and indeterminate or bifurcated, which mandates the minimum period be served in an institutional setting such as a prison followed by "street time" until the total sentence is completed.
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case. A court order must be signed by a judge; some jurisdictions may also require it to be notarized.
In common law jurisdictions and mixed civil-common law jurisdictions, the law of remedies distinguishes between a legal remedy (e.g. a specific amount of monetary damages) and an equitable remedy (e.g. injunctive relief or specific performance). Another type of remedy available in these systems is declaratory relief, where a court determines the rights of the parties to an action without awarding damages or ordering equitable relief.
In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.
At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury. To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. To be recognised at law, the loss must involve damage to property, or mental or physical injury; pure economic loss is rarely recognised for the award of damages.
Equitable remedies are judicial remedies developed by courts of equity from about the time of Henry VIII to provide more flexible responses to changing social conditions than was possible in precedent-based common law.
In English and American jurisprudence, there is a legal maxim (albeit one sometimes honored in the breach) that for every right, there is a remedy; where there is no remedy, there is no right. That is, lawmakers claim to provide appropriate remedies to protect rights. This legal maxim was first enunciated by William Blackstone: "It is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England, that every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress."
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.
A legal maxim is an established principle or proposition of law in Western civilization, and a species of aphorism and general maxim. The word is apparently a variant of the Latin maxima, but this latter word is not found in extant texts of Roman law with any denotation exactly analogous to that of a legal maxim in the Medieval or modern definition, but the treatises of many of the Roman jurists on regular definitiones and sententiae iuris are to some degree collections of maxims. Most of the Latin maxims originate from the Medieval era in European states that used Latin as their legal language.
There are three crucial categories of remedies in common law system. One is from the law courts of England, and is seen in the form of a payment of money to the victim. This payment is commonly referred to as damages. Compensatory damages compensate an injured victim or plaintiff, and punitive damages punish someone who because of fraud or intentional conduct, is deemed to deserve punishment. Punitive damages serve the function in civil law that fines do in criminal law.
The second category of remedy comes from the equitable jurisdiction developed in the English Court of Chancery and Court of Exchequer. The injunction is a type of equitable remedy,as is specific performance, in which someone who enters into a contract is forced to perform whatever promise has been reneged upon. Two additional equitable remedies are the equitable lien and the constructive trust.
In jurisdictions following the English common law system, equity is the body of law which was developed in the English Court of Chancery and which is now administered concurrently with the common law.
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the estates of lunatics and the guardianship of infants. Its initial role was somewhat different: as an extension of the Lord Chancellor's role as Keeper of the King's Conscience, the Court was an administrative body primarily concerned with conscientious law. Thus the Court of Chancery had a far greater remit than the common law courts, whose decisions it had the jurisdiction to overrule for much of its existence, and was far more flexible. Until the 19th century, the Court of Chancery could apply a far wider range of remedies than common law courts, such as specific performance and injunctions, and had some power to grant damages in special circumstances. With the shift of the Exchequer of Pleas towards a common law court and loss of its equitable jurisdiction by the Administration of Justice Act 1841, the Chancery became the only national equitable body in the English legal system.
The Exchequer of Pleas or Court of Exchequer was a court that dealt with matters of equity, a set of legal principles based on natural law and common law in England and Wales. Originally part of the curia regis, or King's Council, the Exchequer of Pleas split from the curia during the 1190s, to sit as an independent, central court. The Court of Chancery's reputation for tardiness and expense resulted in much of its business transferring to the Exchequer. The Exchequer and Chancery, with similar jurisdictions, drew closer together over the years, until an argument was made during the 19th century that having two seemingly identical courts was unnecessary. As a result, the Exchequer lost its equity jurisdiction. With the Judicature Acts, the Exchequer was formally dissolved as a judicial body by an Order in Council of 16 December 1880.
The third broad group is declaratory remedies. Common examples are the declaratory judgment and the action to quiet title, and these remedies usually involve a court's determination of how the law applies to particular facts without any command to the parties.Courts give declaratory remedies about many different kinds of questions, including whether a person has a legal status, who the owner of a property is, whether a statute has a particular meaning, or what the rights are under a contract.
A declaratory judgment, also called a declaration, is the legal determination of a court that resolves legal uncertainty for the litigants. It is a form of legally binding preventive adjudication by which a party involved in an actual or possible legal matter can ask a court to conclusively rule on and affirm the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a civil dispute. The declaratory judgment is generally considered a statutory remedy and not an equitable remedy in the United States, and is thus not subject to equitable requirements, though there are analogies that can be found in the remedies granted by courts of equity. A declaratory judgment does not by itself order any action by a party, or imply damages or an injunction, although it may be accompanied by one or more other remedies.
While those are the three basic categories of remedies in common law, there are also a handful of others (such as reformation and rescission, both dealing with contracts whose terms need to be rewritten or undone).
Remedies can be, and in American law usually are, determined case by case, and take into account many different facts including the amount of harm caused to the victim. Remedies can also be determined in advance for an entire class of cases. For example, there can be a fixed fine for all violations of a legal rule, regardless of how much harm was caused in the particular case.
In legal terminology, a complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties believes are sufficient to support a claim against the party or parties against whom the claim is brought that entitles the plaintiff(s) to a remedy. For example, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that govern civil litigation in United States courts provide that a civil action is commenced with the filing or service of a pleading called a complaint. Civil court rules in states that have incorporated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure use the same term for the same pleading.
Laches refers to a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, particularly in regard to equity; hence, it is an unreasonable delay that can be viewed as prejudicing the opposing [defending] party. When asserted in litigation, it is an equity defense, that is, a defense to a claim for an equitable remedy. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights", and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed, witnesses or evidence may have been lost or no longer available, etc., such that it is no longer a just resolution to grant the plaintiff's claim. Laches is associated with the maxim of equity, "Equity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones [that is, those who sleep on their rights]." Put another way, failure to assert one’s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim being barred by laches.
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. It can include the intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, financial losses, injuries, invasion of privacy, and many other things.
An injunction is a legal and equitable remedy in the form of a special court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts. "When a court employs the extraordinary remedy of injunction, it directs the conduct of a party, and does so with the backing of its full coercive powers." A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties, including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. They can also be charged with contempt of court. Counterinjunctions are injunctions that stop or reverse the enforcement of another injunction.
Punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are damages assessed in order to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct and/or to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit. Although the purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff will receive all or some of the punitive damages award.
A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.
A writ of prohibition is a writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits. In practice, the court directs the clerk to issue the writ, and directs the sheriff to serve it on the subordinate, and the clerk prepares the writ and gives it to the sheriff, who serves it. This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court asking it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction.
Maxims of equity are legal maxims that serve as a set of general principles or rules 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 a more flexible, responsive approach to the needs of the individual, inclined to take into account the parties’ conduct and worthiness. They were developed by the English Court of Chancery and other courts that administer equity jurisdiction, including the law of trusts. Although the most fundamental and time honored of the maxims, listed on this page, are often referred to on their own as the 'maxims of equity' or 'the equitable maxims', it cannot be said that there is a definitive list of them. Like other kinds of legal maxims or principles, they were originally, and sometimes still are, expressed in Latin.
Specific performance is an equitable remedy in the law of contract, whereby a court issues an order requiring a party to perform a specific act, such as to complete performance of the contract. It is typically available in the sale of land, but otherwise is not generally available if damages are an appropriate alternative. Specific performance is almost never available for contracts of personal service, although performance may also be ensured through the threat of proceedings for contempt of court.
The law of restitution is the law of gains-based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss-based recovery. When a court orders restitution it orders the defendant to give up his/her gains to the claimant. When a court orders compensation it orders the defendant to pay the claimant for his or her loss.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a United States labor law, passed in response to United States Supreme Court decisions that limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination. The Act represented the first effort since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to modify some of the basic procedural and substantive rights provided by federal law in employment discrimination cases. It provided the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages and limited the amount that a jury could award. It added provisions to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protections expanding the rights of women to sue and collect compensatory and punitive damages for sexual discrimination or harassment.
The Enforcement Act of 1871, also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Force Act of 1871, Ku Klux Klan Act, Third Enforcement Act, or Third Ku Klux Klan Act, is an Act of the United States Congress which empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations. The act was passed by the 42nd United States Congress and signed into law by the 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant on April 20, 1871. The act was the last of three Enforcement Acts passed by the United States Congress from 1870 to 1871 during the Reconstruction Era to combat attacks upon the suffrage rights of African Americans. The statute has been subject to only minor changes since then, but has been the subject of voluminous interpretation by courts.
A prayer for relief, in the law of civil procedure, is a portion of a complaint in which the plaintiff describes the remedies that the plaintiff seeks from the court. For example, the plaintiff may ask for an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees, an injunction to make the defendant stop a certain activity, or all of these. The request for a specific amount of money may be referred to as an ad damnum clause.
Chauffeurs, Teamsters, and Helpers Local No. 391 v. Terry, 494 U.S. 558 (1990), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that an action by an employee for a breach of a labor union's duty of fair representation entitled him to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment.
Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila, 542 U.S. 200 (2004), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court limited the scope of the Texas Healthcare Liability Act (THCLA). The effective result of this decision was that the THCLA, which held Case Management and Utilization Review decisions by Managed Care entities like CIGNA and Aetna to a legal duty of care according to the laws of The State of Texas could not be enforced in the case of Health Benefit plans provided through private employers, because the Texas statute allowed compensatory or punitive damages to redress losses or deter future transgressions, which were not available under ERISA § 1132. The ruling still allows the State of Texas to enforce the THCLA in the case of Government-sponsored (Medicare, Medicaid, Federal, State, Municipal Employee, etc., Church-sponsored, or Individual Health Plan Policies, which are saved from preemption by ERISA. The history that allows these Private and Self-Pay Insurance to be saved dates to the "Interstate Commerce" power that was given the federal Government by the Supreme Court. ERISA, enacted in 1974, relied on the "Interstate Commerce" rule to allow federal jurisdiction over private employers, based on the need of private employers to follow a single set of paperwork and rules for pensions and other employee benefit plans where employers had employees in multiple states. Except for private employer plans, insurance can be regulated by the individual states, and Managed Care entities making medical decisions can be held accountable for those decisions if negligence is involved, as allowed by the Texas Healthcare Liability Act.
The Specific Relief Act, 1963 is an Act of the Parliament of India which provides remedies for persons whose civil or contractual rights have been violated. It replaced an earlier Act of 1877. The following kinds of remedies may be granted by a court under the provisions of the Specific Relief Act:
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