Estoppel and the Importance of Straight Talking
Conveyancer and Property Lawyer
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Sloan, B. (2009). Estoppel and the Importance of Straight Talking. Conveyancer and Property Lawyer https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.39114
The doctrine of proprietary estoppel is living in interesting times, having recently had only its second substantive consideration by the House of Lords. In Cobbe v Yeoman’s Row Management Ltd., their Lordships held that an oral commercial arrangement that is binding in honour only cannot usually generate a proprietary estoppel claim. Another context in which the doctrine has increasingly been applied is the domestic sphere, particularly in cases of testamentary promises made orally to unpaid workers. Writing extra-judicially, Lord Walker has recognised the importance of estoppel in providing a remedy in these ‘assistance’ cases. Nevertheless, in spite of the commercial nature of the facts in Cobbe, the wide-ranging remarks of their Lordships (particularly Lord Scott) could have serious implications for such domestic cases. Indeed, Ben McFarlane and Andrew Robertson have (perhaps prematurely) contemplated the demise of proprietary estoppel as a doctrine in its own right. Thorner v Curtis was the last domestic case to be decided by the Court of Appeal before Cobbe. Thorner itself has recently been the subject of an appeal to the House of Lords, and their Lordships’ judgments will be eagerly awaited.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.39114
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/291959
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