1.1.1 Claimant must prove that
defendant made present of
future representations to
him/her of entitlement to
188.8.131.52 Active = words/deeds
184.108.40.206.1 Eg. Inwards v Baker  - Father told
son to build his bungalow on his land,
so son gave up plot of land being held
and financed the build. The relevant
assurance appeared to be vague but CA
interpreted assurance to be sufficient.
220.127.116.11 Passive = standing by/silence
18.104.22.168.1 Eg. Salvation Army Trustee Co Ltd v West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council (1981) -
salvation army used old council hall for meetings, but council said subject to
refurbishment so salvation army renovated a new site to hold meetings. Council
eventually expressed that scheme was cancelled. CA held that council's initial inactivity
was sufficient assurance.
1.1.2 Does assurance need to be related to specific asset?
22.214.171.124 Early cases = yes - eg. Layton v Martin  -
'financial' and 'emotional security' was held to be too
vague and insufficient because no relation to specific
126.96.36.199 Later cases = no - eg. Southwell v
Blackburn  & Plimmer v The Mayor,
The Councillors and The Citizens of the City
of Wellington (1884) - the court held that
precise nature/quantum of assets should
not be focused on because in such
informal/domestic claims, precise legal
terms are not used.
1.1.3 Testamentary cases
188.8.131.52 Taylor v Dickens (1997) - (Appeal allowed by CA) D told C (her
employee) that he would be entitled to her
house when she died. Before she died, she
made several ones including him and one last
one excluding him. High Court held that there should be two promises:
184.108.40.206.1 Promise 1 = the assurance to the property
220.127.116.11.2 Promise 2 = promise not to revoke the primary promise to property
18.104.22.168 Gillet v Holt  - (CA allowed appeal) similar case facts as above, however
claimant carried on working in expectation of inheritance.
Presumption of testamentary freedom failed and High Court
held that proprietary estoppel did not apply.
22.214.171.124.1 No secondary promise necessary because reliance allows the assurance to crystallise where it is inequitable
to revoke such a promise.
126.96.36.199 Identification of assets
188.8.131.52.1 'Testamentary Promises and Estoppel - A Fresh Look' by MP - Thorner v Majors  - unspoken mutual understanding between parties
regarding specified assets but no express representation here. HL held TEST = what would C reasonably have thought D to mean in relation
determining property = objective. to
1.2.1 Burden of proof is on C to prove that there was a causal
link of reliance between the assurance and detriment
184.108.40.206 Presumption of reliance exists were assurance is proven,
however this is REBUTTABLE so D have burden of proof to prove
contrary (Greasley v Cooke .
220.127.116.11.1 Coombes v Smith  - C sought to rely on the facts that she became preganant and left her husband to be with
D as detrimental reliance, however, the court dismissed this and held that these were things she would do as a
mother and partner anyway. Reliance must be REASONABLE and a HOLISTIC APPROACH to all factual
1.3 Detriment/Change of Position
1.3.1 Renders actions of legal owner unconscionable to retract promises made. This change of position will only be substantial if it is
unjust/inequitable to go back on promises.
18.104.22.168 Detriment is SUBJECTIVE
22.214.171.124.1 Pascoe v Turner  - C's life savings of £230 were used on improvements.
126.96.36.199.2 Re Basham  - Personal advantage of unpaid domestic services - parties
were not amicable so care was not out of love, but expectation.
188.8.131.52.3 Counterbalancing Benefits
184.108.40.206.3.1 Court will look at all circumstances and benefits available to claimant when considering whether the
elements have been satisfied and whether a remedy may be available, even if this means the absence of detriment. Most common benefit = rent free accommodation.
220.127.116.11.3.1.1 Henry v Mitchell  - Claimant benefitted from rent free accommodation
but deprived of bettering himself elsewhere, so court held that detriment had
NOT been outweighed.
18.104.22.168.3.1.2 Southwell v Blackburn  - both parties received benefits and
these cancelled each other out. Demonstrates that court takes a
BROAD BRUSH approach, NOT a mathematical one.
1.3.2 Notion of Unconscionability
22.214.171.124 Some argue this is a 4th element because it refers to the court's discretion to deny a remedy or
modify it due to circumstances. Courts have failed to define unconscionability.
126.96.36.199.1 Yeo v Wilson (1998) - claim failed despite all estoppel equity elements being
satisfied due to claimant's bad behaviour (she manipulated an elderly man into
2 Court's wide discretion
to satisfy the equity
2.1 Court has a very flexible approach and overriding discretion towards remedies.
The mere fact that an estoppel equity has been established will not be enough
to award a remedy (Jennings v Rice .
2.1.1 Remedy must be PROPORTIONAL to the expectation of claimant and detriment suffered. The aim
of this is to prevent the unconscionable behaviour. So court will not simply award claimant his
expectation if it is disproportionate. The claimant's expectation will be a starting point a lot of the
time, however, when there is a mutual agreement between the parties as to the nature of the
assurance, this will act with a quasi-contractual nature and the court is likely to award the
claimant's his/her expectation. This is because the claimant and the defendant agree that the
expectation and detriment are broadly equivalent (Expectation and Proportionality in Estoppel' by MP
188.8.131.52 Fundamental aim of proprietary estoppel is to reach a JUST conclusion that will do justice to both parties.
2.2 Monetary Award
2.2.1 1. Compensation
184.108.40.206 Jennings v Rice  - Defendant's
estate was worth £1.28m however court
thought more appropriate to award
claimant £20,000 which was the salary of
a full-time carer during the relevant
period of time.
2.2.2 2. Charge over property
220.127.116.11 Campbell v Griffin - life interest in property was disproportionate so
court awarded £35,000 charge over the property. Problem = a
claimant will have an indefinite wait for this money until the property
is eventually sold and the charge is realised.
2.3 Expectation Award
2.3.1 1. Transfer of freehold with(out) compensation
18.104.22.168 Pascoe v Turner  - freehold estate granted to claimant
22.214.171.124 J'Mee (2013) - Problem = creation of
"estoppel millionaires" - are courts going
too far? Is approach robust enough?
2.3.2 2. Licence to occupy
126.96.36.199 Needs to be on specific terms, eg. Claimant pays
mortgage. Inwards v Baker  - son was
granted licence to occupy for life rent free.
2.3.3 3. Denying claim to possession
188.8.131.52 Court will merely deny legal owner the opportunity to
evict the claimant from property. This will leave parties in
an unclear and 'limbo' style position however - does not
necessarily resolve all issues.
2.3.4 4. Granting a lease
184.108.40.206 May be granted instead of a licence and can be for a fixed
term which enables the Law of Property Act 1925 to
extend for period of 90 years. Practical problems = is
tenant able to sub-let? Absolute covenant would need to
be incorporated so that such profitable actions would not
2.3.5 5. Beneficial interest in property
220.127.116.11 Interest would be granted in proportion of contributions
made, ie. improvements
2.3.6 6. Granting an easement
2.3.7 7. Order of transfer to claimant
18.104.22.168 Claimant would need to pay reasonable purchase price
for property and the amount of improvements would be
deduced from the total.
3 Doctrine to prevent the legal owner of
property insisting on his strict legal rights
when he/she has made a promise of
entitlement to a claimant. The doctrine
will inhibit the legal owner from
withdrawing the promise where it would
be inequitable or unconscionable to do so.
3.1 Usually concern land, however courts have not
distinguished between land and chattels.
3.1.1 Re Basham  - the whole estate was in
question (including furniture and current
4 Elements to establish an estoppel equity are interrelated:
"the relevant assurance may influence the issue of the
relevant reliance... [and] reliance and detriment are often
intertwined..." per Robert Walker LJ in Gillett v Holt