This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If the subject-matter is such as to make the contract void or illegal at law, equity will not grant specific performance.1 Thus where an institution owning land which it could not alienate by the terms of the grant to it, agrees with a city and a third person to sell the property to such third person by having the city go through the form of taking it for park purposes by eminent domain and then conveying to such third person, specific performance will not be given.2 In denying relief on this ground, equity is not, however, limited to case? where the law would decline to act, but may refuse relief even in cases where the contract might be enforceable at law. A contract whereby A was to furnish evidence to establish B's claim to certain realty, and to manage it, and conduct it at his own expense, cannot be specifically enforced even if valid at law.3