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Equity Depends On the Length of the Lord Chancellor’s Foot?

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‘Equity is a roguish thing: for law we have a measure, know what to trust to; equity is according to the conscience of him that is Chancellor, and as that is larger or narrower, so is equity. ‘Tis all one as if they should make the standard for the measure we call a foot, a Chancellor’s foot; what an uncertain measure would this be? One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot: ’tis the same thing in a Chancellor’s conscience.’

 

-17th cent. J Selden, Table Talk, quoted in M B Evans and RI Jack (eds), Sources of English Legal and Constitutional History, Butterworths, Sydney, 1984,223-224

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