The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule

Overview

The irreparable injury rule says that courts will not grant an equitable remedy to prevent harm if it would be adequate to let the harm happen and grant the legal remedy of money damages. After surveying more than 1400 cases, Laycock concludes that this ancient rule is dead—that it almost never affects the results of cases. When a court denies equitable relief, its real reasons are derived from the interests of defendants or the legal system, and not from the adequacy of the plaintiff's legal remedy. Laycock ...

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Overview

The irreparable injury rule says that courts will not grant an equitable remedy to prevent harm if it would be adequate to let the harm happen and grant the legal remedy of money damages. After surveying more than 1400 cases, Laycock concludes that this ancient rule is dead—that it almost never affects the results of cases. When a court denies equitable relief, its real reasons are derived from the interests of defendants or the legal system, and not from the adequacy of the plaintiff's legal remedy. Laycock seeks to complete the assimilation of equity, showing that the law-equity distinction survives only as a proxy for other, more functional distinctions. Analyzing the real rules for choosing remedies in terms of these functional distinctions, he clarifies the entire law of remedies, from grand theory down to the practical details of specific cases. He shows that there is no positive law support for the most important applications of the legal-economic theory of efficient breach of contract. Included are extensive notes and a detailed table of cases arranged by jurisdiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Every lawyer who studies or participates in our curious enterprise of constitutional government through courts should scrutinize Douglas Laycock's outstanding book.

"Professor Laycock has written a book that every litigator should know. He explodes a powerful myth and shows us through analysis of cases from every state and the federal system that "irreparable injury" is a formula invoked to bless results based on other reasons....Laycock patiently and ably catalogs the circumstances in which specific relief is granted and for each one shows us that irreparable injury is not the court's concern."—Litigation

"A great service to the law—first rate Grand Style stuff,"—Ian Macneil, Northwestern University

"I was reminded of Cardozo, of Chafee, and even of Maitland in the power Laycock seemed to have over the ideas and in the sweep of materials he was able to bring to bear. Writers, judges, and lawyers will all rely on his final effort to restate the real forces behind the irreparable injury rule as specific rules or principles."—Dan B. Dobbs, University of Arizona

"[A] perceptive work, and a....very useful source...of recent American cases taking unorthodox views of specific remedies....[T]his is an interesting, well-argued and thoughtful book."—Civil Justice Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195063561
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1991
  • Pages: 382
  • Lexile: 1500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Texas, Austin
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