The Principle Of Justice And Of Equity

Decent Essays
Introduction Estoppel is a principle of justice and of equity. It was defined by Lord Denning MR as the situation where ‘a man, by his words or conduct, has led another to believe in a particular state of affairs, he will not be allowed to go back on it when it would be unjust or inequitable for him to do so’. A promise gives rise to the reasonable expectation that the promise will be kept. As such, promissory estoppel corresponds with the objectively justified belief/ anticipation of fair dealing, or the ‘reasonable expectations of honest men’ This is because under the doctrine of promissory estoppel, a party can rely on a promise made by another party that is unsupported by consideration, when certain conditions are met. Prima facie, this seems to mean that promissory estoppel goes against the principle of the sanctity of contract, the general idea that once parties enter into a contract, they must honour their obligations under the contract, since the existing contract is undermined. This essay seeks to show that while the main purpose of promissory estoppel is to give effect to the reasonable expectations of honest men, it tries to strike a balance by also striving to preserve the sanctity of contract. Only exceptionally, will promissory estoppel go directly against the sanctity of contract, allowing claims for full expectation losses. Consideration A contract is an agreement comprising of an offer, acceptance and the intention to create legal relations, which is
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