The maxims of equity evolved, in Latin and eventually translated into English, as the principles applied by courts of equity in deciding cases before them.

Among the traditional maxims are:

  • Equity looks upon that as done which ought to have been done.
  • Equity suffers not a right without a remedy.
  • Equality is equity.
  • Equity regards substance rather than form.
  • Where the equities are equal, the first in time will prevail.
  • Where equities are equal, the law will prevail.
  • Equity follows the law.
  • He who seeks equity must do equity.
  • He who seeks equity must have clean hands.
  • Equity aids the vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights.
  • Delay defeats equity.
  • Equity will not concern itself with abstract wrongs.
  • Equity abhors a forfeiture.
  • Equity does not require an idle gesture.
  • Equity will not permit a party to profit by his own wrong.
  • Equity delights to do justice, and not by halves.
  • Equity will take jurisdiction to avoid a multiplicity of suits.

In modern times, law students have summed up the meaning of the maxims as:
  • Equity taketh no shit.

See also: brocard