Promissory Estoppel Research Paper

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This essay will define promissory estoppel within English Law. Promissory Estoppel is defined within English Law as a principle of justice, and can also be referred to in earlier cases as ‘equitable estoppel’ . This means that a promise made can be enforceable by law, even if there hasn’t been a formal consideration, meaning that it is a legally binding contract. Promissory Estoppel falls under contract law and has enabled legal obligations, meaning a person who has entered in to a contract cannot go back on a promise to another party even if there hasn’t been any consideration. The saying that “promissory estoppel may be used as a shield and not a sword” originated from the case of Combe V Combe, meaning that it could be used as a defence mechanism. A sword is defined as a weapon, as something that can be used to strike another person, although promissory estoppel is only used to protect the person and for it not to be used as a weapon. This was originally used in the case of Hughes V Metropolitan Railway co [1876-1877] but was then not used for some time until Lord Denning used it again in the Central Property Trust Ltd V High Trees Houses Ltd case in the 19th century.
Lord Denning lead the implementation
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The rule in common law is that if there has been a promise that has already been made along with a pre-existing legal relation, it cannot be enforceable without the consideration of the other party. This is demonstrated in the case of Pinnel, where Lord Coke had demanded that there needed to be a payment from the debtor to the creditor. The defendant owed a sum of money, but did not pay the full balance, despite promising too, this meant the creditor can sue the debtor for the outstanding balance, as the case of Combe V Combe shows due to their not being consideration when originally making the

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