A promissory Estoppel is a judicial instrument used in the commonwealth legal system where the courts may possess the powers to prevent or deter a person from going back on his or her word. The basic objective of the doctrine of promissory estoppel is that it protects the interests and rights of a party that is relying on the promise of another party. In contracts and business dealings, promises have great value. Promissory estoppel is a judicial device used to secure the performance of a promise. The doctrine makes sure that the promising party is not allowed to go back on its promise. There are penal provisions available for the non-performance of duties and obligations arising out of a promise. Therefore, Promissory estoppel is an important aspect of the commonwealth contract law.
Promissory Estoppel finds applications in both equity, natural law as well as contract law.
There are various kinds of promissory estoppels in the common law. Here is an instance to demonstrate the meaning and scope of promissory estoppel.
In the case of a tenant-landlord relationship, promissory estoppel is often invoked. Imagine a situation in which a landlord had promised the tenant that he would not terminate the lease of the property rented out to the tenant. Due to this promise, the tenant performed expensive improvements on the property. Thus as per the doctrine of Promissory Estoppel, the landlord will not be allowed to go back on his promise. This is valid even if the promise made by the landlord is not legally provided for in the form of a written contract.
Whereas the postulates of the two may seem similar, there is a lot of difference between promissory estoppel and the doctrine of waiver. The doctrine of estoppel stops a party from exercising its right. The doctrine of waiver relinquishes the right of a party even before the right has arisen. Therefore, the two doctrines are overlapping but different. The essential requirement is that in all promissory estoppel cases that are based on the doctrine of reliance, it is important to demonstrate both inducement and detrimental reliance.
Here are the essential elements for a case to qualify for the implementation of the doctrine of Promissory Estoppel:
To summarize the points mentioned above in simple language, the victim needs to establish the following:
For the reasons mentioned above, the doctrine of promissory estoppel is also often called the rule of evidence. It is called so because in the doctrine of promissory estoppel a party or individual is barred from leading the evidence of a fact which had already been concluded. Certain estoppels relate to deterring a party from leading the evidence related to a pre-established fact.
Under the gambit of intent to contract, there are several different kinds of Estoppels:
The doctrine of reliance: The estoppels based on the doctrine of reliance are the most common types of estoppels under commonwealth law. They are typically characterized by one party relying on a fact or statement asserted by another party.
Estoppel by the record: This type of estoppel bars the parties from relitigating the same issues that have arisen in a previous cause of action.
Estoppel by deed: Situations where rules of evidence prevent a litigant from denying the truth of what was said or done.
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