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The manner in which a right is enforced or satisfied by a court when some harm or injury, recognized by society as a wrongful act, is inflicted upon an individual.
The law of remedies is concerned with the character and extent of relief to which an individual who has brought a legal action is entitled once the appropriate court procedure has been followed, and the individual has established that he or she has a substantive right that has been infringed by the defendant.
Categorized according to their purpose, the four basic types of judicial remedies are (1) damages; (2) restitution; (3) coercive remedies; and (4) declaratory remedies.
The remedy of damages is generally intended to compensate the injured party for any harm he or she has suffered. This kind of damages is ordinarily known as Compensatory Damages. Money is substituted for that which the plaintiff has lost or suffered. Nominal damages, generally a few cents or one dollar, are awarded to protect a right of a plaintiff even though he or she has suffered no actual harm. The theory underlying the award of Punitive Damages is different since they are imposed upon the defendant in order to deter or punish him or her, rather than to compensate the plaintiff.
The remedy of restitution is designed to restore the plaintiff to the position he or she occupied before his or her rights were violated. It is ordinarily measured by the defendant's gains, as opposed to the plaintiff's losses, in order to prevent the defendant from being unjustly enriched by the wrong. The remedy of restitution can result in either a pecuniary recovery or in the recovery of property.
Coercive remedies are orders by the court to force the defendant to do, or to refrain from doing, something to the plaintiff. An Injunction backed by the Contempt power is one kind of coercive remedy. When issuing this type of remedy, the court commands the defendant to act, or to refrain from acting, in a certain way. In the event that the defendant willfully disobeys, he or she might be jailed, fined, or otherwise punished for contempt. A decree for Specific Performance commands the defendant to perform his or her part of a contract after a breach thereof has been established. It is issued only in cases where the subject matter of a contract is unique.
Declaratory remedies are sought when a plaintiff wishes to be made aware of what the law is, what it means, or whether or not it is constitutional, so that he or she will be able to take appropriate action. The main purpose of this kind of remedy is to determine an individual's rights in a particular situation.
Nature of Remedies
Remedies are also categorized as equitable or legal in nature.
Monetary damages awarded to a plaintiff because they adequately compensate him or her for the loss are considered a legal remedy. An equitable remedy is one in which a recovery of money would be an inadequate form of relief.
Courts design equitable remedies to do justice in specific situations where money does not provide complete relief to individuals who have been injured. Injunctions, decrees of specific performance, declaratory judgments, and constructive trusts are typical examples of some kinds of equitable remedies. Restitution is regarded as either a legal or equitable remedy, depending upon the nature of the property restored.
The distinction between legal and equitable remedies originally came about because courts of law only had the power to grant legal remedies, whereas courts of Equity granted equitable remedies to do justice in situations where money would be inadequate relief. The courts of law and the courts of equity have merged, but the distinction still has some importance because in a number of courts, a trial by jury is either granted or refused, according to whether the remedy sought is legal or equitable. When a legal remedy is sought, the plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial, but this is not true when an equitable remedy is requested.
Sometimes a plaintiff might have both legal and equitable remedies available for the redress of personal grievances. In such a case, a plaintiff might have to exercise an Election of Remedies.
A provisional remedy is one that is adapted to meet a specific emergency. It is the temporary process available to the plaintiff in a civil action that protects him or her against loss, irreparable injury, or dissipation of the property while the action is pending. Some types of provisional remedies are injunction, receivership, arrest, attachment, and Garnishment.
n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in which legal rights are involved. Remedies may be ordered by the court, granted by judgment after trial or hearing, by agreement (settlement) between the person claiming harm and the person he/she believes has caused it, and by the automatic operation of law. Some remedies require that certain acts be performed or prohibited (originally called "equity"), others involve payment of money to cover loss due to injury or breach of contract, and still others require a court's declaration of the rights of the parties and an order to honor them. An "extraordinary remedy" is a means employed by a judge to meet particular problems, such as appointment of a referee, master or receiver to investigate, report or take charge of property. A "provisional remedy," is a temporary solution to hold matters in status quo pending a final decision or an attempt to see if the remedy will work. (See: equity, judgment, provisional remedy, settlement)
REMEDY. The means employed to enforce a right or redress an injury.
2. The importance of selecting a proper remedy is made strikingly evident by tho following statement. "Recently a common law barrister, very eminent for his legal attainments, sound opinions, and great practice, advised that there was no remedy whatever against a married woman, who, having a considerable separate estate, had joined with her husband in a promissory note for X2500, for a debt of her husband, because he was of opinion that the contract of a married woman is absolutely void, and referred to a decision to that effect, viz. Marshall v. Rutton, 8 T. R. 545, he not knowing, or forgetting, that in equity, under such circumstances, payment might have been enforced out of the separate estate. And afterwards, a very eminent equity counsel, equally erroneously advised, in the same case, that the remedy was only in equity, although it appeared upon the face of the case, as then stated, that, after the death of her husband, the wife had promised to pay, in consideration of forbearance, and upon which promise she might have been arrested and sued at law. If the common law counsel had properly advised proceedings in equity, or if the equity counsel had advised proceedings by arrest at law, upon the promise, after the death of the husband, the whole debt would have been paid. But, upon this latter opinion, a bill in chancery was filed, and so much time elapsed before decree, that a great part of the property was dissipated, and the wife escaped with the residue into France, and the creditor thus wholly lost his debt, which would have been recovered, if the proper proceedings had been adopted in the first or even second instance. This is one of the very numerous cases almost daily occurring, illustrative of the consequences of the want of, at least, a general knowledge of every branch of law."
3. Remedies may be considered in relation to 1. The enforcement of contracts. 2. The redress of torts or injuries.
4.-Sec. 1. The remedies for the enforcement of contracts are generally by action. The form of these depend upon the nature of the contract. They will be briefly considered, each separately.
5.-1. The breach of parol or simple contracts, whether verbal or written, express or implied, for the payment of money, or for the performance or omission of any other act, is remediable by action of assumpsit. (q, v.) This is the proper remedy, therefore, to recover money lent, paid, and had and received to the use of the plaintiff; and in some cases though the money have been received tortiously or by duress of, the person or goods, it may be recovered.in this form of action, as, in that case, the law implies a contract. 2 Ld. Raym. 1216; 2 Bl. R. 827; 3 Wils. R. 304; 2 T. R. 144; 3 Johns. R. 183. This action is also the proper remedy upon wagers, feigned issues, and awards when the submission is not by deed, and to recover money due on foreign judgments; 4 T. R. 493; 3 East, R. 221; 11 East, R; 124; and on by-laws. 1 B. & P. 98.
6.-2. To recover money due and unpaid upon legal liabilities, Hob. 206; or upon simple contracts either express or implied, whether verbal or written, and upon contracts under seal or of record, Bull. N. P. 167; Com. Dig. Debt, A 9; and on statutes by a party grieved, or by a common informer, whenever the demand is for a sum certain, or is capable of being readily reduced to a certainty; 7 Mass. R. 202; 3 Mass. R. 309, 310; the remedy is by action of debt. Vide Debt.
7.-3. When a covenantee, has sustained damages in consequence of the non-performance of a promise under seal, whether such promise be contained in a deed poll, indenture, or whether it be express or implied by law from the terms of the deed; or whether the damages be liquidated or unliquidated, the proper remedy is by action of covenant. Vide Covenant.
8.-4. For the detention of a chattel, which the party obtained by virtue of a contract, as a bailment, or by some other lawful means, as by finding, the. owner, may in general support an action of detinue, (q.v.) and replevin; (q.v.) or when he has converted the property to his own use, trover and conversion. (q.v.)
9.-Sec. 2. Remedies for the redress of injuries. These remedies are either public, by indictment, when the injury to the individual or to his property affects the public; or private, when the tort is only injurious to the individual.
10. There are three kinds of remedies, namely, 1. The preventive. 2. That which seeks for a compensation. 3. That which has for its object punishment.
11.-1. The preventive, or removing, or abating remedies, are those which may be by acts of the party aggrieved, or by the intervention of legal proceedings; as, in the case of injuries to the. person, or to personal or real property, defence, resistance, recaption, abatement of nuisance, and surety of the peace, or injunction in equity and perhaps some others.
12.-2. Remedies for compensation are those which may he either by the acts of the party aggrieved, or summarily before justices, or by arbitration, or action, or suit at law or in equity.
13.-3. Remedies which have for their object punishments, or compensation and punishments, are either summary proceedings before magistrates, or indictment, &c. The party injured in many cases of private injuries, which are also a public offence, as, batteries and libels, may have both remedies, a public indictment for the criminal offence, and a civil action for the private wrong. When the law gives several remedies, the party entitled to them may select that best calculated to answer his ends. Vide 2 Atk. 344; 4 Johns. Ch. R. 140; 6 Johns. Ch. Rep. 78; 2 Conn. R. 353; 10 Johns. R. 481; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 302. In felony and some other cases, the private injury is so far merged in the public crime that no action can be maintained for it, at least until after the public prosecution shall have been ended. Vide Civil remedy.
14. It will be proper to consider, 1. The private remedies, as, they seek the prevention of offences, compensation for committing them, and the punishment of their authors. 2. The public remedies, which have for their object protection and punishment.
15.-1. Private remedies. When the right invaded and the injury committed are merely private, no one has a right to interfere or seek a remedy except the party immediately injured and his professional advisers. But when the remedy is even nominally public, and prosecuted in the name of the commonwealth, any one may institute the proceedings, although not privately injured. 1 Salk. 174; 1 Atk. 221; 8 M. & S. 71.
16. Private remedies are, 1, By the act of the party, or by legal proceedings to prevent the commission or repetition of an injury, or to remove it; or, 2. They are to recover compensation for the injury which has been committed.
17.-1. The preventive and removing remedies are principally of two descriptions, namely, 1st. Those by the act of the party himself, or of certain relations or third persons permitted by law to interfere, as with respect to the person, by self-defence, resistance, escape, rescue, and even prison breaking, when the imprisonment is clearly illegal; or in case of personal property, by resistance or recaption; or in case of real property, resistance or turning a trespasser out of his house or off his land, even with force; 1 Saund. 81, 140, note 4; or by apprehending a wrong-doer, or by reentry and regaining possession, taking care not to commit a forcible entry, or a breach of the peace; or, in case of nuisances, public or private, by abatement; vide Abatement of nuisances; or remedies by distress, (q.v.) or by set off or retainer. See, as to remedies by act of the parties, 1 Dane's Ab. c. 2, p. 130.
18.-2. When the injury is complete or continuing, the remedies to obtain compensation are either specific or in damages. These are summary before justices of the peace or others; or formal, either by action or suit in courts of law or equity, or in the admiralty courts. As an example of summary proceedings may be mentioned the manner of regaining possession by applying to magistrates against forcible entry and detainer, where the statutes authorize the proceedings. Formal proceedings are instituted when certain rights have been invaded. If the injury affect a legal right, then the remedy is in general by action in a court of law; but if an equitable right, or if it can be better investigated in a court of equity,' then the remedy is by bill. Vide Chancery.
19.-2. Public remedies. These may be divided into such as are intended to prevent crimes, and those where the object is to punish them. 1. The preventive remedies may be exercised without any warrant either by a constable, (q.v.) or other officer, or even by a private citizen. Persons in the act of committing a felony or a broach of the peace may arrested by any one. Vide Arrest. A public nuisance may be abated without any other warrant or authority than that given by the law. Vide Nuisance. 2. The proceedings intended as a punishment for offences, are either summary, vide Conviction; or by indictment. (q.v.)
20. Remedies are specific and cumulative; the former are those which can alone be applied to restore a right or punish a crime; for example, where a statute makes unlawful what was lawful before, and gives a particular remedy, that is specific and must be pursued, and no other. Cro. Jac. 644; 1 Salk. 4 5; 2 Burr. 803. But when an offence was antecedently punishable by a common law proceeding, as by indictment, and a statute prescribes a particular remedy, there such particular remedy is cumulative, and proceedings may be had at common law or under the statute. 1 Saund. 134, n. 4. Vide Bac. Ab. Actions in general, B; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; Actions; Arrest; Civil remedy; Election of Actions.