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Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

4. Consideration And Promissory Estoppel  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter discusses consideration and promissory estoppel. Consideration, a universal requisite of contracts not made by deed, reflects a variety of policies and serves a number of functions. First, enforceability may depend on the content of the promise or the circumstances in which it was made. Second, consideration has been said to identify which promises the parties intend to be legally enforceable. Third, consideration is sometimes seen as a requirement which ensures that a promisor has deliberately decided to contract and prevents parties accidentally binding themselves on impulse. Promissory estoppel is one strand in a broader equitable principle whereby parties to a transaction who have conducted their dealings in reliance on an underlying assumption as to a present, past, or future state of affairs, or on a promise or representation by words or conduct, will not be allowed to go back on that assumption, promise, or representation when it would be unfair or unjust to do so.

Book

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

Robert Merkin QC and Séverine Saintier

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This book has been guiding students through contract law for many years. It places the law of contract clearly within its wider context, including the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracting, before proceeding to provide detailed yet accessible treatment of all the key areas encountered when studying contract law. Part 1 considers formation, looking in detail at agreement, certainty and agreement mistakes, the enforceability of promises and the intention to be legally bound. Part 2 looks at content, interpretation, exemption clauses and unfair terms, performance, and breach. Part 3 considers the enforcement of contractual obligations including remedies, detailed treatment of damages for breach of contract, privity and third party rights, and discharge by frustration. Part 4 looks at methods of policing the making of a contract, such as non-agreement mistakes which render the contract void, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionable bargains, and illegality. The book also includes references to relevant EU consumer legislation and introduces students to the various attempts (international and European) to produce a harmonized set of contract principles.

Book

Cover Contract Law Directions

Richard Taylor and Damian Taylor

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers at undergraduate level through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams, and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. Contract Law Directions is a comprehensive guide, now in its eighth edition, to all aspects of contract law. It is structured in four parts. Part 1 looks at the creation of obligations. It considers agreement, intention to create legal regulations, and consideration and estoppel. Part 2 is about contents and borders and looks at positive terms, exemption clauses, and misrepresentation. Part 3 examines defects in terms of mistake, duress, undue influence, and unconscionable bargains. The final part explains finishing and enforcing obligations. It analyses frustration, damages, specific remedies, and privity and the interests of third parties.

Book

Cover Contract Law
Contract Law: Text, Cases, and Materials provides a complete guide to the subject of contract law. The book comprises a balance of 60 per cent text to 40 per cent cases and materials. Its clear explanations and analyses of the law provide support to students, while the extracts from cases and materials promote the development of essential case reading skills and allow for a more detailed appreciation of the practical workings of the law and of the best legal scholarship. Part I of the book examines the rules relating to the existence of an agreement (particularly offer and acceptance, uncertain and incomplete agreements, and consideration and promissory estoppel). Part II covers the terms of the contract, including implied terms, interpretation, boilerplate clauses, exclusion clauses, unfair terms in consumer contracts, and good faith. Part III examines topics such as mistake, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionability, inequality of bargaining power, and frustration and force majeure. Part IV turns to breaches of contract and termination, damages, and specific performance. The last part, Part V, concentrates on third parties.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

4. Consideration  

M P Furmston

This chapter first discusses the function and definition of the doctrine of consideration, a unique feature of the Common Law, and then examines the technical rules that judges have evolved for the application of their doctrine of consideration. Consideration is classified into two categories, executory and executed. The classification reflects the two different ways in which the plaintiff may buy the defendant’s promise. Consideration is called executory when the defendant’s promise is made in return for a counter-promise from the plaintiff, and executed when it is made in return for the performance of an act.

Book

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract
Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins’ Law of Contract provides a clear, academically rigorous, account of the contract law which is written in a style which makes it highly accessible to university students new to legal study. It works from extensive consideration of the significant cases, to provide students with a firm grounding in the way the common law functions. There are chapters on formation, certainty, consideration, promissory estoppel, intention to create legal relations, express and implied terms, classification of terms, exemption clauses, the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, unfair terms in consumer contracts, mistake, misrepresentation, duress and undue influence, illegality, unconscionability, privity, performance and breach, frustration, damages, and specific enforcement, as well as companion website chapters on capacity and an outline of the law of restitution. Recent cases which are of particular note in this, the tenth edition, include the Supreme Court cases of: Wells v Devani (2019) on interpretation and implied terms, Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v Times Travel (UK) Limited (2021) on lawful act economic duress, Morris- Garner v One-Step (Support) Ltd (2019) and Triple Point Technology Inc v PTT Public Company Ltd (2021) on the law of damages, and Tillman v Egon Zehnder (2019) on illegality and severance, re-affirmed in the Court of Appeal ruling in Quantum Actuarial LLP v Quantum Advisory Ltd (2021). Further important Court of Appeal decisions include: TRW v Panasonic (2021) on ‘battle of the forms’, Ark Shipping v Silverburn Shipping (2019) on classification of terms, FSHC Holdings v GLAS Trust (2019) on the equitable remedy of rectification, considered within the chapter on the doctrine of mistake, and Classic Maritime Inc v Limbungan Makmur (2019) on the interpretation of force majeure clauses and the scope of the doctrine of frustration, issues which rapidly elevated in significance leading up to Brexit and upon the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Notable first instance decisions which have tested frustration in light of these events include Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Ltd and others v European Medicines Agency (2019) in the context of Brexit, and Salam Air SAOC v Latam Airlines Group SA (2020) on the impact of Covid-19. Additional High Court rulings considered within this edition include Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Saeed Bin Shakhboot Al Nehayan v Ioannis Kent (2018) and Bates v Post Office Ltd (2019) on good faith, and Neocleous v Rees (2019) on electronic signatures coupled with the findings of the Law Commission Report on Electronic Execution of Documents (2019) Law Com No 386.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

5. Consideration and Promissory Estoppel  

The doctrine of consideration is one feature of English contract law that readily distinguishes it from the law of contract in civilian jurisdictions. Its essence is that a promisee cannot enforce a promise unless he has given or promised to give something in exchange for the promise, or unless the promisor has obtained (or been promised) something in return. In other words, there must have been a bargain between the parties. This chapter analyses the current scope of the doctrine of consideration, particularly the rule that consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate; the pre-existing duty rule and the question whether a promise to pay, or part payment of a debt, is good consideration for the discharge of the entire deb; and the rule that past consideration is not good consideration. It also examines the role of promissory estoppel in contract cases. An estoppel gives (at least limited) effect to a promise that would otherwise be unenforceable (it may be used as a shield but not a sword), thus the effect of an estoppel may be to supplement, or even supplant, the doctrine of consideration. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the future of the doctrine of consideration and, in particular, draws on the critique of consideration developed by Professor Atiyah.

Chapter

Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

1. Historical Introduction  

M P Furmston

This chapter discusses the history of English contract law. It covers the medieval law; the origin of assumpsit; assumpsit and debt; the doctrine of consideration; and contract law in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Chapter

Cover Complete Contract Law

5. Consideration and Promissory Estoppel  

This chapter evaluates the other requirement for an agreement to be legally enforceable: consideration. In its simplest form, consideration is often described as being something of value that is given (or promised) by each party in exchange for the other party’s promise or performance. Disputes concerning consideration usually begin by one party claiming that the other is in breach of their contract. The other party then argues that no consideration had been given in return for what they promised to do, and therefore the agreement is not enforceable. In a case concerning consideration, courts will typically focus on the obligations to be enforced, and then work out if something of value was given (or promised) in return for the performance of those obligations. Sometimes, a strict application of the consideration requirement is a barrier to reflecting the parties’ intentions. For that reason, the courts have developed a more relaxed approach in certain circumstances. There is also a limited exception to the requirement for consideration, which is known as promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

3. Enforceability: consideration, promissory estoppel, formalities  

Agreement is necessary but not sufficient to trigger legal recognition and thus enforcement. An informal agreement must comprise an exchange in which each party treats her performance (or promise of performance) as the price of the other’s performance (or promise of performance). Absent consideration, English law permits some enforcement, in qualifying circumstances, of promises that induce the promisee’s reliance via the doctrine of promissory estoppel. It also enforces formal promises or agreements. This chapter discusses: (1) the requirements of consideration, promissory estoppel, and formalities; (2) the justification for each test of enforceability; (3) whether the rules and scope of each doctrine are satisfactory, and, if not, how each should each be developed.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

7. Consideration and promissory estoppel  

This chapter analyses the issue of consideration in contract law. Contracts are generally binding only if supported by consideration. Consideration can be viewed as ‘the price tag on the promise’: a party must provide something in exchange for the promise in order to be able to enforce that promise. That ‘something’ is called ‘consideration’, and might itself be a promise. The requirement of consideration is demanded by the common law. But, in some situations, equity will allow a promisee to enforce a promise, despite a lack of consideration, through the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Where the promisor makes a clear promise, intended to be binding, intended to be acted upon, and in fact acted upon, the courts will not allow the promisor to act inconsistently with that promise if to do so would be unconscionable.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

3. Consideration  

The requirement of mutuality

This chapter discusses consideration as a requirement for an agreement to be treated as a legally binding contract. Consideration is the price one party pays for the other party’s promise or performance. The doctrine of consideration provides, in essence, that a price of some sort must be paid if an agreement is to be enforceable as a contract. This chapter begins with an analysis of the first requirement imposed by the doctrine of consideration: that the act, forbearance, promise, or commodity given in exchange for the promise should be something of value. It then examines the three different conceptual approaches used in the legal understanding of value based on the idea of economic value, benefit and detriment, and practical benefit. It also describes the ingredients of exchange and includes case in depth boxes that cover the most influential and important cases pertaining to consideration.

Chapter

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 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.