The early Lord Chancellors were ecclesiastics – that is, they were bishops – and therefore the equitable principles that were developed under their leadership by the courts of equity were informed by religious notions of conscience as well as by secular ideas. Equity exhibits a tension between order and flexibility. To its denigrators, equity is disorganised, chaotic and unprincipled; to its adherents it exhibits clear patterns in compliance with subtle but meaningful principles. The entire purpose of equity is bound up in that one lyrical expression. Equity exists precisely to prevent abuses of the law. Equity is both something ancient and something very modern. Academics such as Maitland in the late nineteenth century tried to present equity as being something quintessentially English. The philosophical reasons for the maintenance of equity reach back into the broader question as to how well does the English legal system currently serve the population.