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The means by which a right is enforced or by which the violation of a right is prevented or compensated. The means employed to enforce a right or redress an injury.
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 hushand in a promissory note for X2500, for a debt of her hushand, because he was of opinion that the contract of a married woman is absolutely void, and referred to a decision to that effect, 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 hushand, 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 hushand, 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."
Remedies may be considered in relation to 1. The enforcement of contracts. 2. The redress of torts or injuries.
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.
- 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. This is the proper remedy, therefore, to recover money lent, paid, and had and re-ceived 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. 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 and on by laws.
- 2. To recover money due and unpaid upon legal liabilities, or upon simple contracts either express or implied, whether verbal or written, and upon contracts under seal or of record 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 the remedy is by action of debt. - 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.
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, and replevin; or when he has converted the property to his own use, trover and conversion.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 3. Remedies which have for their object punishments, or compensation and punishments, are either summary proceedings before magistrates, or indictment, etc. 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. 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.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.
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 proccedings, although not privately injured. 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.
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; or by apprehending a wrong-doer, or by reentry and re-gaining 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 or remedies by distress, or by set off or retainer.
- 2. When the injury is complete or continuing, the remedies to obtain compensation are either specific or in damages. These are summary before jus-tices 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 magis
trates 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.
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 preven-tive remedies may be exercised without any warrant either by a constable, 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. 2. The proceedings intended as a punishment for offences, are either summary, vide Conviction; or by indictment.
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. 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.