These courts began with petitions to the Lord Chancellor of England. Equity courts "handled lawsuits and petitions requesting remedies other than damages, such as writs, injunctions, and specific performance". Most equity courts were eventually "merged with courts of law".
Some states in the early republic of the United States followed the English tradition of maintaining separate courts for law and equity. Others vested their courts with both types of jurisdiction, as the US Congress did with respect to the federal courts.
United States bankruptcy courts are the one example of a US federal court which operates as a court of equity. Some common law jurisdictions--such as the U.S. states of Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Tennessee--preserve the distinctions between law and equity and between courts of law and courts of equity (or, in New Jersey, between the civil and general equity divisions of the New Jersey Superior Court).
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