Chapter 8Estoppel and promises: the importance of coherence, rationalisation, and adhering to basic principles

Adam Shaw-Mellors*

8.1 Introduction

If A makes a non-contractual promise to B in terms that B will obtain a future right in relation to A’s land, and B acts on that promise to his or her detriment, the doctrine of proprietary estoppel can, in principle, provide B with a route to holding A to that promise.1 The principle this describes can be labelled the “promise principle”. Its effect is to allow B to assert a fresh right against A without having to plead and prove the traditional formality requirements for a contract (namely, intention to create legal relations and consideration) or having to comply with statutory formality requirements ...

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