Friday, September 13, 2019

Doctrine of Estoppel in Australian Law Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 3500 words

Doctrine of Estoppel in Australian Law - Essay Example But then, if the plaintiff has said or done something that induced/caused the defendant to change his or her behavior and that reliance was reasonable, the courts hold the discretion to deny the remedy to the plaintiff. Estoppel is not a remedy "at law" in the jurisdictions of common law, but is based on the principles of equity. In most cases, it is only a defense used by the defendant to prevent the plaintiff from enforcing established legal rights, or from relying on a set of facts that would give rise to enforceable rights this can be in the form of words uttered or actions performed, if that enforcement or reliance can be seen as unfair to the defendant. Because its effect is to defeat generally enforceable legal rights, the scope of the remedy is often very limited. In the case of a debt, for instance, an estoppel could be claimed if the creditor tells the debtor that he has been forgiven of his debt, but then there has not been a formal termination of the debt. If later the creditor demands that the debt should be paid back, but the debtor, reling on the earlier information that the debt has been forgiven him, has innocently spent the money on something else, the creditor may be estopped from relying on the usual contractual right to repayment because it would be unfair to allow the creditor to change his mind. Estoppel provides a way in which promises can be legally binding, even when there is no consideration. Estoppel is reliance based and, and you should note that reliance was never sufficient to constitute a consideration. In strict terms, Estoppel has nothing to do with contract, which means it is not part of contract law in the traditional sense. It is something that exists as a separate body of law - just like negligence or trespass. Its importance is that it has impacted on the law of contract by making it possible to argue for legal obligations which are contract-like but which do not satisfy the traditional requirements of consideration. Estoppel has therefore had an important impact on contract, but, it should be kept in mind that estoppel is a general doctrine which operates in all sorts of other areas as well. A lot of learned commentators of great influence have argued that there should be, if there never was, but one doctrine of estoppel by conduct in Australian law. Their argument captured by Mr. Spence in his book as the desirability of the unification of common law and equitable estoppel, and he advocates for a model of unification in which equitable estoppel would be extended to cover assumptions of fact, thereby swallowing up the common law doctrine. This method of unification was advocated and explained by MasonCJ in his judgment in CommonwealthvVerwayen 2. Their major worry in relation to equitable estoppel is whether it is fundamentally concerned with preventing unconscionable conduct or with protecting reasonable reliance. They are wont to ask if equitable estoppel is essentially concerned with the representor's misconduct, or with the representee's plight This is basically what the learned authors, Meagher, Heydon and Leeming, mean when they said in their book3 that "there are influential proponents of the view that there now should be, if there has not always been, but one doctrine of estoppel by conduct". What it seems to me that they are saying is that there should

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