- Legal remedy
Judicial remedies Legal remedies (Damages) Compensatory damages
Equitable remedies Specific performance
Account of profits
Injunction · Restitution
Rescission · Rectification
Related issues Adequate remedy
Election of remedies
Tracing · Legal costs
A legal remedy (also judicial relief) is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order to impose its will.
In Commonwealth common law jurisdictions and related jurisdictions (e.g. the United States), the law of remedies distinguishes between a legal remedy (e.g. a specific amount of monetary damages) and an equitable remedy (e.g. injunctive relief or specific performance). Another type of remedy is declaratory relief, where a court determines the rights of the parties to an action without awarding damages or ordering equitable relief.
In English and American jurisprudence, there is a legal maxim that for every right, there is a remedy; where there is no remedy, there is no right. That is, lawmakers claim to provide appropriate remedies to protect rights. This legal maxim was first enunciated by William Blackstone: "It is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England, that every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury it’s [sic] proper redress." 
There are three crucial remedies in American law. One is from the traditional law courts of England, and is seen in the form of a payment of money to the victim. This payment is commonly referred to as damages. Compensatory damages compensate an injured victim or plaintiff, and punitive damages punish someone who because of fraud or intentional conduct, is deemed to deserve punishment. Punitive damages serve the function in civil law that fines do in criminal law.
The second category of remedy comes from the Chancellor of England, commonly called the Chancery Court, or, more commonly, equity. The injunction or restraining order is a type of equitable remedy, as is specific performance, in which someone who enters into a contract is forced to perform whatever promise s/he has reneged upon. The equitable lien and constructive trust are two additional equity remedies.
The third broad group of remedies is known as declaratory relief. With this remedial device, the court pronounces its decision about the status of a person or a law, perhaps even the parties' rights in a contract. A divorce or adoption decree is an example of a declaratory judgment. While those three round out the basic remedies in American law, there are also reformation and recission, both dealing with contracts whose terms need to be rewritten or undone.
- ^ 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 23
- ^ See also Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 162–163 (1803).
Examples of legal remedies
- Damages, which may include:
- Coercive relief
Categories of remedies
- Adequate remedy
- Civil remedy
- Cumulative remedy
- Election of remedies
- Equitable remedy
- Extraordinary remedy
- Joinder of remedies
- Provisional remedy
- Remedy over
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
legal remedy — ➔ remedy * * * legal remedy UK US noun [C] LAW ► a way of using the legal system to make sure that someone s rights are not taken away from them: »We will pursue all legal remedies available to enforce our rights … Financial and business terms
legal remedy — index suit Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
legal remedy — methods provided by a court to the injured party in order to protect their rights … English contemporary dictionary
adequate legal remedy — See adequate remedy at law … Ballentine's law dictionary
inconvenience of legal remedy — Vexatious irritation, annoyance, or embarrassment consequent on a recourse to a court of law. Cook v Carpenter, 212 Pa 165, 61 A 799 … Ballentine's law dictionary
perversion of legal remedy — Abuse of process; malicious prosecution; false arrest; false imprisonment … Ballentine's law dictionary
remedy — rem·e·dy 1 n pl dies: the means to enforce a right or to prevent or obtain redress for a wrong: the relief (as damages, restitution, specific performance, or an injunction) that may be given or ordered by a court or other tribunal for a wrong if… … Law dictionary
remedy — rem‧e‧dy [ˈremdi] noun remedies PLURALFORM [countable] a way of dealing with a problem: • The company will vigorously pursue all legal remedies against anyone interfering with its rights. • a structural remedy for poor productivity and quality… … Financial and business terms
legal — le·gal / lē gəl/ adj [Latin legalis, from leg lex law] 1: of or relating to law or the processes of law a legal question take legal action 2 a: deriving authority from or founded on law a legal tariff rate a legal government … Law dictionary
remedy — n. 1) to resort to a remedy 2) to prescribe a remedy 3) (legal) to pursue a (legal) remedy 4) (legal) to exhaust all (legal) remedies 5) a certain, reliable, sure; effective, efficacious remedy 6) a cold; cough remedy 7) a folk; homeopathic… … Combinatory dictionary