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Proprietary estoppel refers to a landowner being estopped from denying rights to a third party as a result of that third party relying on a belief in those rights where it would be unconscionable for the landowner to do so. The typical scenario might involve a landowner representing to a third party that their land will pass to the third party upon the landowner’s death if the third party works for the landowner. If, upon death, the third party discovers that the landowner’s land has passed to someone else, he may claim that the landowner was estopped from not passing his land to the third party.

Creation of proprietary estoppel

What is required?

It is commonly assumed that for proprietary estoppel to operate in the prevention of a third party’s right to an interest in land, there must be: a mistake of a third party (the claimant); the landowner must know of this mistake and the landowner must either encourage the mistaken belief or acquiesce to it. This was said in Willmott v Barber (1880), by Fry J.

This exhaustive criteria was simplified in Taylor Fashions v Liverpool Victoria Trustees [1982] to a single requirement of ‘underlying unconscionability’, in non-acquiescence cases, without a knowledge requirement on the part of the landlord. Gillett v Holt buy xanax romania [2001] also favoured a more relaxed approach, finding that unconscionability is required, but detriment and reliance are intertwined and cannot be compartmentalised...

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