The Difference Between Common Intention Constructive Trusts and Proprietary Estoppel Has Been Described as ‘Illusory’ (Hayton). Do You Agree with This Statement? Consider How the Case Law Has Developed and Give Reasons for Your Answer.
1975 WordsJan 31, 20138 Pages
The difference between common intention constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel has been described as ‘illusory’ (Hayton). Do you agree with this statement? Consider how the case law has developed and give reasons for your answer.
In his article ‘Equitable Rights of Cohabitees’ Hayton suggested that the distinction between common intention constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel has, over time, come to be but illusory and goes on further to propose that since the general direction of the development of the law has been to embrace the principle of preventing and remedying unconscionable conduct regardless of whether the claim brought before them was originally brought under the concept of a constructive trust or proprietary…show more content…
Proprietary estoppel, on the other hand, is a “legal bar preventing a (first) party from denying another (second) party's right in first party's property where the second party has incurred costs in that property to its detriment”. Proprietary estoppel, like other types of estoppel, is not a remedy in itself but a tool to raise “estoppel equity”, on the basis of which the court is able to decide on the type of remedy that this equity will satisfy. Similarly to the need for the element of common intention for the purpose of establishing a constructive trust, there is a need for the establishment of an active or passive assurance on the part of the defendant that leads to some form of consequential detriment on the part of the claimant when acting in reliance on that assurance. Thus, there must be a causal connection between the actions undertaken by the claimant and the initial assurance on the part of the defendant. The extent and the nature of the detriment suffered by the claimant, however, appears to be substantially more flexible than that necessary to find the existence of a constructive trust. For example, in Inwards v Baker , such detriment amounted to the improvement of the defendant’s land, while in Gillett v Holt  it was manifested in both financial and personal detriment. Yet unlike in most cases involving common intention constructive trusts, in neither of
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