Chancery Definition


A court of equity, in which a judge can order acts performed, such as that a contract be modified or an activity stopped. The chancery court's functions are distinct from those of common law courts, which can order money damages to be paid, and where jury trials are available. The division between chancery and equity courts is partly based on the old English legal system. However, the original reason for the division between courts, which was so that law courts could follow statutory rules and equity courts could rule on issues of fairness, has been mostly lost. Chancery courts still exist in a few U.S. states today (check with the individual court for an exact list of what types of cases it hears). In other states, chancery court functions have been merged into the regular law courts' activities.