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This article is written by Ayush Singh Sikarwar of 3rd Semester of New Law College, Pune, as an intern under Legal Vidhiya.


This comprehensive research paper explores the intersection of equity and the doctrines of business of law. The concept of equity in business law means fairness and justice and application of moral principles in legal decision. These principles play a vital role in balancing the interests of parties and ensuring just resolutions in business-related legal disputes. Equity allows courts to provide remedies beyond strict legal rules, ensuring flexibility and addressing unique circumstances. Doctrines in business law encompass various legal principles that shape the conduct of business transactions. These doctrines provide a foundational framework for navigating legal issues in the realm of business law. Equity in business law encompasses several key doctrines that aim to provide impartial outcomes in legal disputes. These doctrines showcase equity’s role in shaping remedies and principles that go beyond strict legal rules to achieve more just outcomes in business disputes. Furthermore, the case laws determine the various principles or doctrines of business law which approves the relevancy of equity.

Keywords: Justice, equity, doctrines and principles, fiduciary duty, unconscionability, consideration, frustration, compensation, commerce, contract, equitable remedies, intellectual property, fairness, unjust enrichment, agreements,       


Before understanding equity and the doctrine of business of law, we first understand the concept of equity in law. Equity in law means a set of legal principles and remedies that aim to provide fairness, justice and relief in situations where strict application of common law rules might lead to unjust and unsatisfactory consequences. It developed historically as a separate of law in England to supplement the common law.

With the coming of trade and commerce, there is impact of principle of equity on business law in the modern world. It implies to incorporation of principles and doctrines developed in the English Court of Chancery into the legal framework governing business and commerce. Equity complements the common law by providing remedies and principles that indicate fairness and justice and flexibility that focus on legal disputes, particularly in matters involving trusts, contract, property rights, and fiduciary relationships. This integration helps ensure a more comprehensive and balanced approach to resolving business related legal issues.

Other part of our knowledge and analysis is doctrines of business law which encompass a set of fundamental legal principles that govern commercial transactions and relationships. These doctrines provide a framework for businesses to operate, addressing areas such as contract, torts, property rights, etc. Understanding these principles is crucial for navigating the legal landscape in the business world and ensuring compliance with applicable laws.


In the context of business law, equity plays a crucial role in maintaining a level playing field for all parties involved.

First aspect, where equity is applied in business law is in contractual disputes. While the law provides clear guidelines on what constitutes a valid contract and how it should be enforced, there are instances where strict adherence to these rules may lead to unjust outcomes. Equity allows the court to consider factors such as the intentions of the parties, their conduct and any unforeseen circumstances that may have been arisen, in order to arrive at a fair resolution. This ensures that parties are not unfairly penalized or taken advantage of due to technicalities or rigid interpretation of the law.

Second aspect, where Equity plays a considerable function in cases involving breach of fiduciary duties. A fiduciary relationship exists when one party has a legal or ethical obligation to act in best regards to another party. However, there may be situation where conflicts of interest emerge or where one party breaches their duty to act in good faith. In such cases, equity allows the court to consider factors such as loyalty, trust, and fairness in determining the appropriate remedy. This ensures that individuals who have been wronged are provided with equitable relief and that those who breach their fiduciary duties are held accountable.

Another aspect, where equity is relevant in cases involving intellectual property rights, such as patents copyright and trademark infringement. For example, if a firm involuntarily infringes on someone else’s copyright due to actual mistake, equity allows the court to contemplate elements such as the level of harm caused and the objective of the infringer in determining an equitable remedy. This averts individuals from being unduly punished for unintentional or minor infringements while still protecting the rights of intellectual property owners.

Key doctrines of business law

  • Doctrine of Consideration

This doctrine requires that both parties involved in a contract provide something of value or benefit to the other. This consideration can be in the form of money, goods, services, or a promise to do something. Essentially, it ensures that contracts are based on a mutual exchange, making them legally enforceable.

  • Doctrine of Privity of Contract

This doctrine is a legal principle that states that only the parties to a contract have rights and obligations under that contract. In other words, a third party cannot impose or be bound by the terms of a contract because they are not a party in the existing contract

  • Doctrine of Capacity

This doctrine in business law refers to the legal concept that outlines who has the authority to enter into contracts on behalf of a business system. It determines whether individuals, such as officers or agents, have the power to bind the company in contractual obligations. This doctrine assist set up the limits of contractual authority and protect against unauthorized agreements.

  • Doctrine of Frustration

This doctrine in business law refers to a legal principle that can discharge a contract when unexpected and inevitable events occur, making it impractical to fulfil the terms of the contract. This doctrine can be imposed when circumstances change dramatically after the contract is formed, rendering its performance fundamentally different from what was originally agreed upon. It provides a way to end the contract without the parties being held liable for non-performance due to events beyond their jurisdiction.

  • Doctrine of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

This doctrine refers to the legal principle that parties to a contract are proposed to act genuinely, impartially, and in a manner that justify the rational expectations of the other party. It is a standard of conduct that prevents one party from exploiting loopholes or engaging in actions that undermine the purpose of the contract. This doctrine varies by jurisdiction and can influence how contracts are interpreted and enforced.

Various doctrines under equity in business law

 Equity serves as a supplement to the common law system, which is based on rigid rules and precedents. Also, there several doctrines which are associated to concept of equity.

One of the key doctrines associated with equity is the doctrine of equitable remedies.

This doctrine in business law refers to the principles and remedies that a court can apply when legal remedies are insufficient to address a situation. Equitable remedies include injunctions, specific performance, rescission, and restitution, among others. Courts use these remedies to prevent harm, rectify breaches of contract, and ensure that parties are treated fairly in business transactions. For example, if a party breaches a contract, a court may order specific performance to enforce the terms of the contract rather than awarding monetary damages.

Another important doctrine is principle of unconscionability. This doctrine of unconscionability mention to a legal principle that accords with contracts or terms that are so one-sided or unethical that they shock the conscience. It allows a court to declare such contracts or terms ineffective, protecting one party from being taken advantage of vulnerability or lack of bargaining power of other party or modify its contract or agreement terms to make it fairer. This doctrine is often applied when there is a considerable lack of balance of power between the parties or when one party lacks the ability to fully understand the terms they are agreeing to.

Furthermore, Equity also encompasses the principle of unjust enrichment. The idea that a person or company shouldn’t be permitted to keep a benefit that was obtained unfairly or without proper justification at the expense of another party is known as the doctrine or principle of unjust enrichment in the field of business law. It demands recompense to the harmed party and attempts to prevent unfair benefits. The idea is frequently used when one party has been unfairly or unjustly enriched at the expense of another, and the legal system attempts to restore the balance by ordering the unfairly enriched party to refund or make up for the gain that was unfairly or without legal justification obtained. With the presence of equity, which recognise the restitution or compensation as remedy to restore fairness in the case.

Case laws related to equity and principle of business law

  1. Salomon v. Salomon & Co. ldt,1897

This is a landmark case in English Company Law. This case involved a small leather business run by Mr. Salomon, who incorporated his business as a limited liability company. When the company faced financial difficulties and went into liquidation, Mr. Salomon argued that he, as the majority shareholder, should be entitled to the remaining assets before the company’s creditors. However, the House of Lords ruled in favor of the company’s separate legal personality, stating that Mr. Salomon’s personal liability was limited to the value of his shareholding. This ruling had significant implications for company law, as it established that shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the company, they invest in. This case remains an important precedent in corporate law worldwide and has played a crucial role in shaping the legal framework for modern businesses. Overall, this case established the principle of corporate personality, which holds that a company is a separate legal entity from its shareholders.

  • Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Corporation limited v. Riche {1875}

It is an important landmark in the field of contract law. In this case, the court had to decide whether a contract entered into by the Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Company was enforceable or not. The company had entered into a contract with Mr. Riche for the construction of a railway line in Belgium. However, before the work could begin, the company’s directors decided to rescind the contract. Mr. Riche brought a legal action against the company for breach of contract.

The court held that the contract was indeed enforceable, despite the fact that it had not been fully performed. The court stated that once a contract is entered into, it creates legal compulsion that cannot be easily set aside. The fact that the company’s directors had changed their minds about the contract did not release them from their contractual obligations. The court accentuate the significance of upholding the inviolability of contracts and safeguarding that parties are held liable for their promises.

This case established an important precedent in contract law, highlighting the doctrine that contracts should be honoured and imposed by the courts, unless there are valid grounds for their termination. It serves as a reminder to businesses and individuals alike to carefully consider the implications of entering into a contract and to fulfill their obligations once they have made such commitments. Overall, the case express that a pre-corporation contract is not binding on a company unless it adopts the contract after incorporation.

  • Donoghue v. Stevenson {1932}

This is a landmark case in the field of tort law. Mrs. Donoghue was implicated in the case because she drank a bottle of ginger beer made by Stevenson, a soft drink maker. Mrs. Donoghue had no idea there was a decomposed snail in the bottle, which caused her to suffer from shock and gastroenteritis. Mrs. Donoghue sued Stevenson for monetary damages, saying that they had breached their duty of care.

The primary question in the case was whether Stevenson owed a duty of care to Mrs. Donoghue as a consumer who had acquired their goods indirectly (she did not buy the ginger beer herself but received it as a gift). The court ruled that a manufacturer owes a duty of care to the eventual consumer of their product, regardless of whether there is a contractual relationship between them.

In the main judgment, Lord Atkin articulated the well-known “neighbour principle.” He maintained that people must take reasonable precautions to avoid acts or omissions that could fairly be predicted to cause injury to their neighbours. Neighbours were described in this sense as people who would be immediately impacted by their conduct.

Donoghue v. Stevenson established the idea that producers have a duty of care to consumers, laying the groundwork for current negligence law. It extended culpability beyond contractual ties, allowing individuals to seek recompense for harm caused by defective items in a broader context.


 In conclusion, equity aims to provide fairness and justice when legal rules fall short. It complements common law by addressing unique cases and preventing injustices. Equity’s emphasis on individual circumstances and remedies beyond strict legal rules helps address unique challenges that may arise in business relationships. By incorporating equitable principles, business law seeks to achieve a balance between legal rules and moral considerations, ultimately promoting a more just and equitable business environment. Also, the key doctrines of business law provide a framework for understanding and navigating legal issues in the business world. By upholding contracts, preventing harm, and safeguarding innovation, these doctrines contribute to a fair and orderly business environment that promotes growth, innovation, and ethical conduct. Equity in business law encompasses several doctrines. These doctrines collectively ensure equitable outcomes in various business and legal context, which promotes fairness and prevents undue advantage or harm.


  1. Equity- Wikipedia



  • Law of Equity:  general principles of equity





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