Before equity, common law reigned supreme – a system characterised by blind adherence to rules and the dominance of technical justice. Equity came with a new regime, mitigating the harshness and strictness of common law, and obviating blind followership of rules at the expense of true justice. However, this new era has brought with it controversies. Criticisms are often levelled against some decisions of courts by members of the legal profession and the general public, on grounds that the courts clung strictly to the rules rather than doing justice. It is suggested here that these criticisms usually stem from a lack of a full understanding of the courts’ duty to see to the prevalence of substantial justice over technicalities; a failure to grasp what the duty truly entails. The paper explains that substantial justice is ultimately founded in legal rules and defines those circumstances in which technicalities would arise.
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UNILAG Law Review, (2023) Volume 6 Edition 1.