“He who seeks equity must do equity”, Judge reminds Enoch Burke

14/10/22 Enoch Burke’s parents, Sean and Martina, and sibling Ammi, arrive to the Court of appeal the in Dublin ….. Pic Collins Courts

“He who seeks equity must do equity” is an equitable principle or maxim that was given an airing in the High Court yesterday in the Enoch Burke/Wilson’s Hospital case.

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore expressed surprise to Enoch Burke that he was seeking relief from the High Court in circumstances where he admitted to being in breach of a High Court order prohibiting him from attending the school where he teaches.

And he quoted this equitable principle to him.

Mr Burke said that it was his “Christian duty” to attend the school to teach.

I have not heard of this equitable principle since I started studying law in Griffith College back in 2010 or thereabouts.

I began to wrack my brain for the other equitable principles and the only one I remembered, in addition to this one, was that those who seek equity must come to court with clean hands.

I searched online, however, and found an excellent article about the maxims of equity on the McMahon Solicitors website.

The maxims are as follows:

  1. Equitable rules will prevail over common law rules
  2. Equity will not suffer a wrong without a remedy
  3. Equity follows the law
  4. He who seeks equity must do equity
  5. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands
  6. Delay defeats equity
  7. Equity is equality
  8. Equity looks to intent rather than form
  9. Equity regards as done what ought to be done
  10. Equity acts personally
  11. Where the equities are equal, the law prevails

That article on the McMahon Legal website is worth a read as it gives the background to and development of equitable remedies.