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Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. Under English law, bargains and not gratuitous promises are enforced, thus a promise will not be enforceable if it is not contained in a deed (implying that any promise is taken seriously) or supported by consideration. Consideration refers to an act or a promise given in exchange for the promise (that is, the price for which the other’s promise was bought). The law does not recognize some acts or promises as good consideration, such as past consideration and performance of an existing legal duty. This chapter examines the general requirement in English law to provide consideration in order to enforce a contractual promise. The consideration requirement is relevant not only to the formation of a contract but also to the enforceability of promises altering the terms of an existing contract (alterations). An alteration promise that is not supported by consideration may still have some binding effect on the basis of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. Under English law, bargains and not gratuitous promises are enforced, thus a promise will not be enforceable if it is not contained in a deed (implying that any promise is taken seriously) or supported by consideration. Consideration refers to an act or a promise given in exchange for the promise (that is, the price for which the other’s promise was bought). The law does not recognize some acts or promises as good consideration, such as past consideration and performance of an existing legal duty. This chapter examines the general requirement in English law to provide consideration in order to enforce a contractual promise. The consideration requirement is relevant not only to the formation of a contract but also to the enforceability of promises altering the terms of an existing contract (alterations). An alteration promise that is not supported by consideration may still have some binding effect on the basis of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. In order to be enforceable, a promise must either be supported by consideration or be expressed in the form of a deed. This stems from the assumption in English contract law that only bargains should be enforced. This chapter examines the enforceability of promises, focusing on consideration and promissory estoppel. The case law has addressed what can constitute consideration and whether a promise can be enforced in the absence of consideration. The chapter focuses particularly on the enforceability of alteration promises, discusses part-payment of a debt, when and how the doctrine of promissory estoppel will operate, and how far the doctrine can be extended.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Concentrate

3. Enforceability issues  

Intention to be bound, consideration, and promissory estoppel

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter examines the question of whether the promises contained in the agreement are enforceable so that there is a legally binding contract in place (formation). It considers the parties’ intention to be legally bound and the need to establish that the promises are part of a bargain. The same bargain requirement applies to alteration promises, although the treatment of alteration promises is not as strict. It is possible for freely made alteration promises to be enforceable when not ‘paid for’ with another promise or action, e.g. by means of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. In order to be enforceable, a promise must either be supported by consideration or be expressed in the form of a deed. This stems from the assumption in English contract law that only bargains should be enforced. This chapter examines the enforceability of promises, focusing on consideration and promissory estoppel. The case law has addressed what can constitute consideration and whether a promise can be enforced in the absence of consideration. The chapter focuses particularly on the enforceability of alteration promises, discusses part-payment of a debt, when and how the doctrine of promissory estoppel will operate, and how far the doctrine can be extended.