Chan"cer*y (?), n. [F. chancellerie, LL. cancellaria, from L. cancellarius. See Chancellor, and cf. Chancellery.]
In England, formerly, the highest court of judicature next to the Parliament, exercising jurisdiction at law, but chiefly in equity; but under the jurisdiction act of 1873 it became the chancery division of the High Court of Justice, and now exercises jurisdiction only in equity.
In the Unites States, a court of equity; equity; proceeding in equity.
⇒ A court of chancery, so far as it is a court of equity, in the English and American sense, may be generally, if not precisely, described as one having jurisdiction in cases of rights, recognized and protected by the municipal jurisprudence, where a plain, adequate, and complete remedy can not be had in the courts of common law. In some of the American States, jurisdiction at law and in equity centers in the same tribunal. The courts of the United States also have jurisdiction both at law and in equity, and in all such cases they exercise their jurisdiction, as courts of law, or as courts of equity, as the subject of adjudication may require. In others of the American States, the courts that administer equity are distinct tribunals, having their appropriate judicial officers, and it is to the latter that the appellation courts of chancery is usually applied; but, in American law, the terms equity and court of equity are more frequently employed than the corresponding terms chancery and court of chancery.
Inns of chancery. See under Inn. -- To get (or to hold) In chancery Boxing, to get the head of an antagonist under one's arm, so that one can pommel it with the other fist at will; hence, to have wholly in One's power. The allusion is to the condition of a person involved in the chancery court, where he was helpless, while the lawyers lived upon his estate.
© Webster 1913.