172 Law & Just. - Christian L. Rev. 27 (2014)
Canonical Equity in the Latin Church and Economy in the Orthodox Church: An Equivalent Relaxation or Essentially Different System

handle is hein.journals/ljusclr172 and id is 29 raw text is: CANONICAL EQUITY IN THE
Abstract: A recognised feature of valid laws is that they must be clear
concise and understandable. One ofthe main resulting problems is that
laws are interpreted strictly and this can lead to harsh judgements. The
clearest example of this can be seen in cases ofstrict liability whereby
no mitigating factors can be taken into consideration.' In order to
counter this a number of devices have developed over the years in
order to take account of mitigating factors should the individual
circumstances of the case require it. These devices now appear in a
number of legal systems, and ecclesiastical law is no exception.
References to the doctrine of equity, dispensation and necessity are rife
within the Canon law of a number of churches and these are used to
allow for the relaxation of legal rules should circumstances require.
What is equally evident is that although such rules exist within these
churches, the precepts that they are based on, sources where they
drawn from, and names are always slightly different. What is intended
in the following article is to draw upon two of these devices, Canonical
equity in the Latin Church and the Orthodox use of economy, in order
to discover if they are, in modern times, equivalent devices or if there
is a greater distinction embedded through their religious development
and guidance for their use.
Why the need for relaxation
When laws are made, they are made for a purpose. Legal systems
themselves are based around purposive aims and encourage certain
behaviour. Even when a law is considered outdated the general
intention behind the law is generally still prevalent. There are also
ways and means by which laws develop their own identity through
interpretation and importantly what a legislator cannot do is tell the

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