• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Gillett v. Holt is a watershed in the law of estoppel. The need to

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Gillett v. Holt is a watershed in the law of estoppel. The need to "look at the case in the round" means that many more cases will be successful.' The doctrine of proprietary estoppel is an equitable intervention in cases where the enforcement of legal rights is considered by the courts to be unconscionably unfair. The essence of the doctrine arises, as defined by Snell: '[when] one (A) is encouraged to act to his detriment by the representations or encouragement of another (O) so that it would be unconscionable for O to insist on his strict legal rights.' (McGhee, 2000, p.637) In the absence of a written agreement, estoppel acts as an evidentiary tool with which the courts can help ensure fair interaction in property dealings. Proprietary estoppel is a method by which informal arrangements are recognized as being capable of creating proprietary interests. Given that it lies within the domain of equity, the case law indicates a great flexibility in its application, both in the substantive requirements of proof demanded by the courts and in the manner in which the courts will satisfy the equity. It is the first of these aspects of the doctrine that I will examine in this essay. I will look at the shift in the evidentiary requirements and what a representation (or an assurance of rights), a reliance (a change of position on the basis of that assurance) ...read more.

Middle

Equitable remedies are always subject to a compromise between the certainty craved in law and a level of flexibility that allows the courts of equity to respond to the injustices they were designed to rectify. Oliver J didn't intend a proliferation of cases or even an artificially heightened rate of success, but rather to set a more flexible and equitable method of deciding the validity of cases. An examination of the judicial development of proprietary estoppel suggests that Gillett v Holt is merely a continuation of a 20th century trend, especially in the last 20 years, towards broadening its remit whilst giving greater emphasis to unconscionability as the basis for successful claims. In Jones v Watkins (unreported)7, Slade LJ's judgment contains some important observations about the possibility of proprietary estoppel arising from an equivocal representation: 'The equivocal nature of the promises found by the judge is clearly one relevant factor when considering whether or not it would be unconscionable to permit the administrators to rely on their strict legal title'. Walker (in Gillett v Holt) cites Inwards v Baker to repudiate the argument that there must be a 'mutual agreement' as to the content and method by which an interest may be granted, or any sense of a bargain between the parties (see Yaxley v Gotts (2000)8 per Robert Walker). ...read more.

Conclusion

What must first be acknowledged is that estoppel remains a drastic course of action for a court to allow and the natural restraints of judicial conservatism ensure that the formality of property law will always be paramount. The emphasis upon unconscionability has allowed the courts to conduct a broader examination of the facts without being restrained by the necessary satisfaction of inflexible criteria. Clearly the subjugation of the three criteria to the determination of unconscionability which one can only really infer from them presents a logical difficulty. They are however necessary without being sufficient, and the fluidity of unconscionability as a term allows case by case judgements with a broad discretion. Yet the broadness of the examination by no means implies that the standards of evidence required by the courts have dropped, only that more types of evidence might have relevance. Clearly to reduce the evidentiary standard in regard to the quality required to establish facts would invite more claims and with less to prove, more successful claims. Neither Oliver J in Taylor Fashions nor Walker J in Gillett v Holt give any rise to believe that the bar has been dropped in this regard. All that has been done is to mirror the myriad informal arrangements that may give rise to proprietary estoppel with an appropriately flexible approach; to find a balance between the need for certainty that even equity acknowledges and the discretion that it clearly demands. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Law of Evidence - R v Kearley

    5 star(s)

    where words of a telephone call were not held to be hearsay. His Lordship considered that the case of R v Blastland did not shed any light on the present case. Finally, he considered that the case of R v Harry14 was wrongly decided, where the Court of Appeal held

  2. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    However the court had a different opinion on the intention of sale and while stating its case it brought the concept of reasonable man claiming that the seller should intend to sell an article of food for human consumption. His intention is an objective fact.

  1. Metafiktion er betegnelsen for den type af sknlitteratur, film og drama, som gr opmrksom ...

    I "Dykkeren" ses ogs� det metafiktionelle tegn ved, at fort�llingen har (1) en forfatter - Karen Blixen der skaber (2) en fort�ller - den ukendte der fort�ller (3) en historie - den om Mira Jama dykkeren og kuffertfisken der skaber (2a) - en ekstra fort�ller Mira Jama der fort�ller (3a)

  2. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    So charged with unlawful act Had a revolver and said he didn't understand the workings of the gun and believed that the bullet (only 1 in the gun) was far away from the firing chamber. Fagan - 'put victim in immediate fear of unlawful physical violence' Lamb's friend had no fear.

  1. Explain the need for discipline in at least two public services. Analyse the role ...

    deal with the situation they can give evidence of what they saw take place. The investigation of sudden or suspicious deaths: In all suspicious deaths the case should be in the beginning investigated as if it were a murder until the evidence shows this is not so.

  2. In order to analyse the differing approaches, concerning formalities and incompletely constituted trusts within ...

    trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary or for a specific purpose." Trusts can be created without any formalities at all. However various statute requirements are in place to prevent the casual creation of trusts. In general anyone who has the capacity to own property has the capacity required to create a trust.

  1. Property, Liberty, and the Law

    asexually, and then the Plant Variety Act which started to protect other forms of plants, but never touched on bacteria or other living things. Besides bio technical patent cases there are cases involving tools as simple as pliers. For example, in the recent case of Intirtool, Ltd.

  2. Common Law and Equity

    This problem with the writ system led to people creating 'fictions' so that their case would fit into a writ. They would do this by adding their own facts or they would omit to meet a writ. 3.2 Problem 2 Common Law was praised however as time has gone on

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work