What is estoppel?

What is proprietary estoppel?

Estoppel is a legal doctrine that people often need to rely on to enforce their rights. But what is estoppel? And more particularly, what is proprietary estoppel?

Proprietary estoppel is a legal principle that prevents a party from going back on a promise or assurance regarding property rights if the other party has relied on that promise to their detriment. In simpler terms, if someone makes a promise or representation about property (like promising to leave property to someone in their will), and another person relies on that promise to their detriment (for example, by working for less pay because they expect to inherit the property), then the person who made the promise may be estopped (legally prevented) from going back on it.

To establish proprietary estoppel, three elements must usually be present:

1. A representation or assurance:

There must be a clear promise, assurance, or representation made by one party to another regarding property rights.

2. Reliance:

The party to whom the promise was made must reasonably rely on that promise to their detriment. Detriment can take various forms, such as financial loss or changes in position.

3. Unfairness or Injustice:

It must be unfair or unjust for the party who made the promise to go back on it, taking full account of the circumstances and the reliance placed on the promise.

This legal doctrine can arise in various contexts, including inheritance disputes, land ownership disputes, relationship breakdowns. and business arrangements involving property rights. Courts may enforce proprietary estoppel to prevent unconscionable conduct and ensure fairness in property dealings.

We specialise in estoppel claims and deal with claims throughout England and Wales. We are often able to work on a No Win, No Fee funding arrangement, so you should not allow worried about legal costs put you off making a claim. You can read more about our expertise in this specialist area HERE. and by following THIS LINK you can read about one of our successes when we represented the daughter in a family farming dispute.

If you have been asking ‘What is estoppel?’ and would like to know more about your legal position then contact our free legal helpline and speak to one of our proprietary estoppel claims specialists.

Call us on 0333 888 0407 for FREE initial case assessment, or use this form to request a free consultation. Alternatively you can send brief details to us by email at [email protected]

What is estoppel?