Proprietary and Equitable Estoppel

Estoppel at common law is used solely as a ?shield.? In contrast, equitable estoppel may be used as a ?sword.? If successful, it enables the person raising the estoppel point to claim an equitable interest in real or personal property.

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Summary Principles of Equity: - Equitable Estoppel rn

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Meagher, Gummow and Lehane famously described the role of equity thus: Equity ‘corrected, supplemented and amended the common law. It softened and modified many of the injustices at common law, and provided remedies where, at law, they were either inadequate or non-existent.’ ( R Meagher, D Heydon and M Leeming, Meagher, Gummow and Lehane’s Equity: Doctrines and Remedies (ButterworthsLexisNexis, 4th ed, 2002), 3, para 1-005)
Firstly, describe in detail the way that equity fulfils this objective in the context of estoppel. In other words, how do the equitable principles pertaining to estoppel ‘soften and modify’ injustices at common law?
Secondly, evaluate the success of equitable estoppel. In your opinion, is it functioning well?
You should support your analysis by detailed reference to at least four cases.

Proprietary and Equitable Estoppel ..

The doctrine is believed to be “plagued by uncertainty and inconsistency”. If one was to explore why it is uncertain and inconsistent, then it is because courts often imply consideration into cases by making it more of formality or technicality rather than a doctrine. To see to what extent this criticism is understandable is by looking at the case of Williams v Roffey Bros in which the court was willing to find consideration in the practical benefit arising to the promisor from making the promise. This decision by the courts was very questionable, because consideration would normally not apply to cases concerning completion of contractual duties in an existing agreement. This is why it could be argued that it seems to give scope for unfairness and might even lead to unlawful cases in the future. In order to distinguish or relate the two doctrines, it is important to understand the doctrine of PE. According to a law journal, it could be seen as the law of waiver – giving up ones rights and therefore could be called equitable forbearance. E Cooke in her book ‘The modern law of estoppel’ describes it as followed.

equitable estoppel is available only as a defense, ..
[1] LOST IN THE BIG HOUSE: WHERE STANDS IRISH LAW ON EQUITABLE ESTOPPEL

a claimant seeking to establish a proprietary estoppel must prove ..

The doctrine of PE helps to make promises binding without consideration. Nevertheless, if one was to take a deeper look at it, then it becomes obvious that the courts have applied PE only to cases promises to accept less but yet have to acknowledge cases involving promises to give more. This approach appears to be a bit unfair as it seem to benefit only the promisee. Also, the efforts to divert from the established approach set by the Hughes and the High Trees case have caused to question the boundaries of promissory estoppel as a reputable and well-established area. Given the arguments above, it should be clear now on the arguments for and against PE. The above discussion on doctrine of consideration makes it the main element of a binding contract and the lack of it may even make the contract voidable. On the other hand, the doctrine of PE makes a contract enforceable without consideration. By comparing the two doctrines, it would be sensible to say that PE is more lenient. This could be because the criteria for the doctrine of PE may be rather easily satisfied than the criteria for consideration. The reason for this might be because the requirements for PE seem more clearly defined than the ones for consideration.

17/01/2018 · View Notes - Equitable Estoppel - Essay Question from LAW 70517 at University of Technology, Sydney

Real Property | Comprehensive Law Outlines

“Estoppel is a mechanism for enforcing consistency; when I have said or done something that leads you to believe in a particular state of affairs, I may be obliged to stand by what I have said or done, even though I am not contractually bound to do so” However, PE has evolved as an alternative to contract law’s doctrine of consideration. It allows the courts to enforce a contract without the aspect of consideration if the following criteria are met. 1. A clear and unequivocal promise to suspend existing contractual rights, 2. Change of position by promisee in reliance on the promise, 3. Inequitable for the promisor to go back on the promise. PEs proliferation and emergence has led some Scholars to sound the “death knell” for the bargain theory of consideration as they view PE as an insignificant and secondary doctrine of contract formation. The milestone for PE was laid in the case Hughes v Metropolitan Railway and was revived in the 1940s by Denning J in Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd where a claim was brought to resume payment of the original rental amount after the war has stopped in 1945.

A promissory estoppel is intended to stop the promisor from denying that the statements, words or even conduct did not happen. Topics. What's New.

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Now take a look at some of the advantages of the doctrine of PE. It is to be seen as a shield to protect against retrospective claims. So it can help to protect the weaker party from exploitation in a negotiation procedure. Actually, scholars seem to agree with the view of the doctrine being an advantage to the less powerful parties like consumers or employers as they are mostly powerless or unprepared against much bigger parties. To express it in a different way “the doctrine of estoppel is used to prevent the party who created the belief that the contract was valid from taking advantage of the statutory rule” and that makes the promise binding even if it lacks consideration. This leads to the other advantage of PE, which makes it of suspensive nature, because no reasonable man would want to have his rights extinguished as a consequence of a plain promise as one can seen from the case against High Trees. It only allows the rights to be suspended but does not terminate it. This section will discuss the disadvantages of PE. One of the major arguments going against it is the uncertainty it creates in law.