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

Promissory estoppel is a necessary supplement to the doctrine of consideration, because it enables courts to enforce promises that have been relied upon even though the promise was not part of an exchange. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Contract Law Mark: 68% Q2. 'Promissory estoppel is a necessary supplement to the doctrine of consideration, because it enables courts to enforce promises that have been relied upon even though the promise was not part of an exchange.' Discuss. Denning LJ's profession: "the doctrine of consideration is too firmly fixed to be overthrown by a side-wind" indicates that it is the cardinal badge of enforceability in the formulation and variation of contracts in English common law. However, the orthodox Stilk v Myrik1 interpretation of the doctrine is particularly rigid. Its application can sometimes manifest inequity. Promissory estoppel can be viewed as supplementary to consideration as it remedies inequity by allowing promises that have been relied upon to be enforced without consideration. However, it can hardly be considered a supplement that is necessary. In actuality, the role of estoppel is a limited one that does not guarantee the absolute enforcement of all promises unsupported by consideration that have been relied upon. Firstly, certain conditions must be fulfilled for the estoppel to be applied. Secondly, for promissory estoppel to coexist with consideration, estoppel cannot be used offensively. Also, there are instances where the application of estoppel has led to irreconcilability with binding laws of consideration. Contrary to its supplementary nature, instances like these exemplify how estoppel can possibly contradict the doctrine of consideration altogether. ...read more.


3. The promisee must have relied on the promise or representation7. It was held that in Hayes v. Plantations Steel Co8, Plantations' promise to take care of Hayes post-retirement did not induce reliance by Hayes because he had decided to retire before any promise that he would receive a pension was made. The promise did not induce Hayes action or forbearance. Thus, without reliance, estoppel cannot apply despite the inequity caused by a sudden cease of pension after 3 years of payment. 4. It must be inequitable for the promisor to go back upon his promise. In D & C Builders v Rees9, the promisee was proven to have extracted the promise to accept a reduced sum by duress and because there was decided to be "no inequity in resiling". This case also highlights that estoppel can only enforce unsupported promises not part of the exchange only if they were made in good faith and were not fraudulent or extorted under duress. This good faith criterion can be perceived as another limiting factor in enforcing these promises. Additionally, the fact that promissory estoppel cannot be used offensively reiterates its rangebound capacity in enforcing such promises. It can only function defensively to prevent the promisor from enforcing his original rights relinquished. This is demonstrated in Combe v Combe10 where Denning LJ held that estoppel could not be create a cause of action where was none. ...read more.


App. 128, 506 N.W.2d 556 (1993) 7 As Goff J explained in The Post Chaser [1982]: "it is not necessary to show detriment... it would be open to the Court, in any particular case, to infer from the circumstances of the case that the representee must have conducted his affairs in such a way that it would be inequitable for the representor to enforce his rights, or to do so without reasonable notice" 8 438 A.2d 1091, 1094 (R.I. 1982) 9 [1965] 2 QB 617 10 [1951] 2 KB 215 11 [2007] EWCA Civ 1329 12 [1884] 9 App Cas 605 13 Referenced also in D & C Builders and Couldery v Bartrum 14 Russell LJ : 'in the late twentieth century I do not believe that the rigid approach to the concept of consideration to be found in Stilk v. Myrick is either necessary or desirable. Consideration there must still be but, in my judgment, the courts nowadays should be more ready to find its existence so as to reflect the intention of the parties to the contract where the bargaining powers are not unequal and where the finding of consideration reflects the intention of the parties.' 15 [1991] 1 QB 1, 18 16 See Adam Opel GmbH v Mitras Automotive (UK) Ltd and Simon Container Machinery Ltd v Emba Machinery AB 17 Ward v. Byham [1956] 1 WLR 496 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Contract 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 University Degree Contract Law essays

  1. The mere prescence of consideration normally implies the existence of an intention to ...

    The strength of the presumption is such that the issue rarely arises in commercial litigation. One case in which it did arise, and which produced a division of judicial opinion, is the decision of the House of Lords in Esso Petroleum Ltd v.

  2. Proprietory estoppel

    relied upon, the creditor is estopped from going back on their promise.19 Denning J, relying on the Hughes case, said that as a result of equitable doctrine, ' a promise to accept a smaller sum in discharge of larger sum, if acted upon, is binding notwithstanding the absence of consideration'.20

  1. Promissory Estoppel is a shield not a sword

    by no possibility, a lesser sum can be a satisfaction to the plaintiff for a greater sum: but the gift of a horse, hawk, or robe, etc. in satisfaction is good ... [as] more beneficial to the plaintiff than the money."20 The rule in Pinnel's Case is later reinforced in

  2. Williams v. Roffey and Foakes v. Beer

    The last practical benefit highlighted by the court was: (d) The defendants' promise to pay the additional amounts only as and when each flat was completed gave the complainant the incentive to perform in a more orderly manner, benefiting the defendants by enabling them to co-ordinate their other subcontractors more effectively and efficiently towards timely completion of the main contract.

  1. This paper discusses the start-up, organisation and conduct of the company "Anders & Birgitte" ...

    §1 in the Tort Liability Act (TLA). The possible tortfeasors are the owner of Café Nexus (CN), Anders (A) personally, or Anders & Birgitte (A&B) as a company. The TLA is used to determine if injured party is entitled to compensation or if he is liable for his own injuries.

  2. Promissory Estoppel

    The general principle in High Tree gave rise to the formation of "promissory estoppel". EFFECTS OF HIGH TREES'S PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL The High Trees Promissory Estoppel gives rise to a number of questions in the area of law where taken at face value, the general principle seems totally wipe out the

  1. "The rigid application of the Rule in Pinnel's Case has frequently caused hardship. ...

    Although the doctrine may seem quite frank, it has certain requirements which must be met. In order for the doctrine to come into play, it is necessary that the promise made is a clear and unequivocal promise as explained in the High Tress case.

  2. Explain how the doctrine of consideration relates to the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

    One thing to note here is , Within his speech he used the term ?waiver? alongside estoppel, which sparks a debate as judges must be careful because that language is broad enough to refer to consideration (Burrows, 2007, p.

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