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(p. 69) 5. Promissory estoppel 

(p. 69) 5. Promissory estoppel
(p. 69) 5. Promissory estoppel

Elizabeth Macdonald

and Ruth Atkins

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date: 17 February 2020

This chapter explores the doctrine of promissory estoppel and the case of Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd. Denning J’s judgment in that case envisioned its application in the part payment of a debt situation, to provide a means of preventing the promisor reneging on his or her promise not to seek the whole of the debt. It looks at English Law’s restriction of promissory estoppel to preventing promisors going back on promises not to enforce rights, rather than creating new obligations. The considerable uncertainty surrounding the doctrine is explored (eg in relation to the extent to which it extinguishes rights, rather than merely suspending them, and what is required to trigger the estoppel (detrimental reliance on the promise or it being inequitable to go back on it).

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