Equitable relief is a legal remedy that is implemented by a court in order to prompt a party to act or prevent them from acting.

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What is equitable relief?

Equitable relief is commonly used when other legal remedies fall short to account for damage. This applies to cases involving intellectual property theft or other damages that can not adequately be reflected monetarily, such as breach of contract.

Equitable relief in practice

In case of a breach of contract the court can order the rescission of the contract, which means that all terms and conditions included in the contract are nullified and both parties relieved from their obligations specified in the agreement. This can occur in cases involving property that holds a certain non-monetary value to one of the parties. The court can then either nullify the contract or order the property to be sold according to the original terms of the agreement.


In cases involving the theft of intellectual property or other sensitive information, the potential damage for the injured party could far outstretch simple financial effects. The court can issue a so-called gag order which serves to prevent the sale or commercial use of intellectual property or sensitive information that has either been stolen or otherwise illegally obtained under threat of civil or criminal penalty.

Conditions for the application of equitable relief

In order for equitable relief to be used, the offended party has to be without blame in the matter. This is to prevent them from unnecessarily delaying proceedings while seeking a remedy. Thus, if the injured party itself has not acted entirely in good faith, equitable relief can not be implemented.


Additionally, a clause has to be included in the contract, stating that both parties are aware that breach of contract can result in irreparable damages for the offended party and lead to equitable relief being incurred on the side of the offending party.

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Disclaimer: This overview is for informational purposes only and cannot be counted as legal advice.