Promissory Estoppel Law

Topics: Contract, Contract law, Common law Pages: 12 (4269 words) Published: August 12, 2013
Chapter 7: promises supported by estopped
* Estoppel: situation where a person is precluded from saying something – namely the denial that a promise has been made. Protects person from the injurious consequence of reliance. * For example : creditor agrees to accept lesser sum in discharge of a greater sum, cant reclaim full payment refer to D & C Builders Ltd v Rees Estoppel Generally:

* Different forms of estoppel: common law estoppel, estoppel in pais, estoppel by representation estoppel by convention…promissory estoppel, proprietary estoppel and equitable estoppel. * Above differences in estoppel not important today - grouped together as a reference to unconscionability. main differences = common law estoppels (based on representations of facts) and equitable (relying on promises or assurances) * Object of estoppel: Dixon J – prevent unjust departure by one person from an assumption adopted by another …unless the assumption be adhered to, would operate to that other’s detriment. Contrast between object of estoppel & consideration. Consideration – mark off promises as breaches and use remedies. Estoppel aims to prevent unjust departures from justified assumption, substitute for consideration. * Protection of reliance: promises supported by consideration enforced by contracts. Estoppel goes one step further- promise and reliance! Thompson v Palmer Dixon J: departure considered unjust when other party adopting it did it at a disadvangtage – so that departure of the assumption would cause detriment. * Unconscionability and injustice are main elements to estoppel. * Promise does not have to be supported by consideration to be estoppelled. * Estoppel can arise in with (used as a defense) or without pre – existing legal relationship …without legal relationship more controversial – preclude the promisor that no rights arose from the promise. There is no consideration – therefore through estoppel can require rights that didn’t previously exist…- thus assisting to create rights and obligations where none existed before – used as offense. Estoppel in the context of pre-existing…

* Legal relationship doesn’t need to be contractual.
* From 1983 – promissory estoppel applicable in aus. Hughes v Metropolitan railway co – lord cairns – set up the doctrine of promissory estoppel. * Above cased used as precedence for result of High trees. Denning J. Result of high trees – can claim original rent after the war but not the difference from the years. * Again estoppel arised out of promised suspension of contractual rights acceptedin the house ofloards in tool metal manufacturing co ltd v tungsten electric co ltd. * Not until 1983 in high court decision in legion v hateley was promissory estoppel authorised in Australia – confirmation of the principle in the highest. Contract for sale of land need to be completed – time for completion was the essence of the contract. Originally was estoppeled from the bridging loan by then appealed to the high court – promissory estoppel was held as part of the law in Victoria – but cant read ms williams’s statement as a promise or representation – was unclear and ambiguous. Estoppel where no pre – existing legal relationship

* Waltons stores – no pre – existing contract – offensive stance for the doctrine was effectively recogfnised in the decision to award damages. * Estoppel and consideration: estoppel operates when promisor going back on promise is considered unjust, unconscionable or unequitable. Doesn’t depend on consideration. * Relief of defendant is at the discretion of the court

* Look up watsons case pg 153 – there was no previous relationship between the two parties which would’ve authorised an estoppel – Kearney J still awarded Mahers damages – holding waltons was estopped from denying that a concluded contract by way of exchange existed. Appeal to high...
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