adequate remedy

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An adequate remedy is one that affords complete relief with reference to the particular matter in controversy, and which is appropriate given the circumstances of the case. An adequate remedy has also been described as a remedy that is complete, practical, and efficient, to the prompt administration of justice as is equitable relief. As such, the availability of an otherwise adequate remedy, typically monetary damages, precludes the grant of an injunction

For example, in a breach of contract case, a court considers putting the harmed party in the same economic position they would have been in had no breach occurred a complete, practical, and efficient remedy. Therefore, a court will not grant specific performance of the contract and will instead order monetary damages unless the contract involved unique goods like artwork.

In property law, it is traditionally assumed that damages are not an adequate remedy for a breach of an agreement to convey real property because real property is assumed to be unique. 

Furthermore, to be considered adequate in redressing a constitutional wrong, a remedy must at least give a plaintiff the opportunity to enter the courthouse doors and present their claim. 

In administrative law, to determine whether an adequate remedy exists for final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the court evaluates whether a statute provides an independent cause of action or an alternative review procedure.

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]