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Introduction

Basically, our group will discuss about promissory estoppel and it features.
Promissory estoppel can be defined as the doctrine that allowing recovery
on a promise made without consideration when the reliance on the
promise was reasonable, and the promisee relied to his or her detriment.
It is the most flexible and useful in the armoury of the law. As we know,
the standard bargain theory of contract as expressed in consideration
says that promises are not binding unless some price has been paid for it.
The price may be a promise, or an act as well as the giving of money.
However there are some circumstances in law where a non-contractual
promise in this sense can give rise to binding obligations, although it may
not give rise to a right to sue for damages if it proves to be false.
Under this doctrine of promissory estoppel, it is clear in which the
promisee provides a way of making promises binding on the basis
of reliance. Besides that, the doctrine of promissory estoppel also known
as quasi-estoppel or equitable estoppel by which courts seek to do
essential justice between litigating parties.
The essence of estoppel is that where you have caused the other party to
act on an assumption as part of the relationship in which you will not be
allowed to depart from it or act as if it were not so. You will be estopped
from denying that the assumption is true. If you lead the other party to
believe that you will not enforce certain rights against them, and they act
on that information, assuming it to be true, you may not later go back and
put those rights into effect.

The leading case of promissory estoppel is Central London Property Trust


Ltd v High Trees House Ltd [1947] Kings Bench. The facts of this case is in
1937, High Trees House Ltd leased a block of flats in Clapham, London, for
a rate 2500/year from Central London Property Trust Ltd. Due to the

conditions during the beginning of World War II occupancy rates were


drastically lower than normal. In January 1940, in order to ameliorate the
situation the parties made an agreement in writing to reduce rent by half.
However, neither party stipulated the period for which this reduced rental
was to apply. Over the next five years, High Trees paid the reduced rate
while the flats began to fill, and by 1945, the flats were back at full
occupancy. Central London sued for payment of the full rental costs from
June 1945 onwards (i.e. for last two quarters of 1945). The judgement for
this case is the rent would be returned to the originally agreed price for
the future only. CLP could not claim back the arrears accrued during the
war years. This case is important as Denning J (as he then was)
established the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Promissory estoppel
prevented CLP going back on their promise to accept a lower rent despite
the fact that the promise was unsupported by consideration. The
statement from Denning J is "In my opinion, the time has now come for
the validity of such a promise to be recognised. The logical consequence,
no doubt is that a promise to accept a smaller sum in discharge of a larger
sum, if acted upon, is binding notwithstanding the absence of
consideration". This case is very important as it helped to establish the
doctrine of promissory estoppel in the law of England.
Thus, it can be denied that promissory estoppel is very important whether
as a shield or a sword in law of contract.