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HARVARD


LAW REVIEW.




MAY 16, 1887.



A BRIEF SURVEY OF EQUITY JURISDICTION.

EQUITY jurisdiction is a branch of the law of remedies; and as it affects, or is affected by, nearly the whole of that law, it is impossible to obtain an intelligent view of it as a whole without first taking a brief view of the law of remedies as a whole. Moreover, as all remedies are founded upon rights, and have for their objects the enforcement and protection of rights, it is impossible to obtain an intelligent view of remedies as a whole, without first considering the rights upon which they are founded.

Rights are either absolute or relative. Absolute rights are such as do not imply any correlative duties. Relative rights are such as do imply correlative duties.

Absolute rights are of two kinds or classes: First, those rights of property which constitute ownership or dominion, as distinguished from rights in the property of another,—jura in re aliena; secondly, personal rights; i.e., those rights which belong to every person as such.

Relative rights, as well as their correlative duties, are called obligations; i.e., we have but one word for both the right and its correlative duty. The creation of every obligation, therefore, is the creation of both a right and a duty, the right being vested in the obligee, and the duty being imposed upon the obligor. Undoubtedly the word “obligation” properly expresses the duty.