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David Dudley Field was the architect of the union – or fusion or merger – of equity and law in New York state, and the Field Code was widely adopted in other states. Field’s vision of the union of law and equity has prevailed in the United States, including at the federal level, at least in theory. However, the practise of law and acts of the courts indicate that the reality is rather different. Equity was not sundered by the Field Code or its federal counterpart, the Federal Code of Civil Procedure 1938. Equity continues to operate distinctly in various ways, even if it is less well understood now. Field’s own behaviour as an attorney was also ambivalent: where he maintained a strong posture against equity in theory, his practice as an attorney revealed his willingness to continue to recognise and rely on equity even under his Code.


Civil Procedure | Law | Legal History


This material has been published in "Equity and Law: Fusion and Fission", edited by John C. P. Goldberg, Henry E. Smith, and P. G. Turner. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.