Adequate remedy

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An adequate remedy or adequate remedy at law is a legal remedy (either court-ordered or negotiated between the litigants) which the court deems satisfactory, without recourse to an equitable remedy.[1][2][3]

This consideration expresses to the court whether money should be awarded or a court order should be decreed.[4] Whether legal damages or equitable relief are requested depends largely on if the remedy can be valued. As an operation of law, an attorney often must present to the court whether there is an adequate remedy. This would be a basic principle of equity.[3][5]

For example, a neighbor building on a landowner's parcel would have little or no value that can be paid because land is unique, and an inadequate value could be ascertained; contrast this, for instance, with the neighbor borrowing the landowner's car and being 100% at fault for an accident. In the latter case, the valuation of the car plus other consequentially- caused damages can be reasonably valuated.

Therefore, as a general rule, where the fair market value can readily be assessed, with certain carved exceptions, the remedy at law is damages (or money). Whereas, the "inadequacy" of a remedy at law leads a lawyer usually to seek equitable relief from the court. When damages, a monetary award, is not an adequate or appropriate remedy, equity can order a "specific performance", an order of the court requiring a party to perform the obligations that he or she undertook to perform under the contract, especially where what was to be exchanged under contract can not be found easily elsewhere or at all, such as antiques, parcels of land, etc.

There is no such claim as an adequate relief claim. Damages are often bifurcated or determined in a separate trial or as a part in parcel of different determination from whether a certain tort or contract (etc.) has occurred.


  1. ^ website. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  2. ^ Legal Dictionary online. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Complete Digest of All Lawyers Reports Annotated, p. 3749, found at Google book search. See also, the cases cited therein. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  4. ^ West's Law Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  5. ^ William L. Clark, Jr., Handbook Of The Law Of Contracts, found at Chest of website. Retrieved December 18, 2008.