Promissory Estoppel


  • Promissory estoppel is the legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if made without formal consideration when a promisor has made a promise to a promisee who then relies on that promise to his subsequent detriment.
  • Promissory estoppel is intended to stop the promisor from arguing that an underlying promise should not be legally upheld or enforced.
  • Estoppelis a judicial device in common law legal systems whereby a court may prevent or “estop” a person from making assertions or from going back on his or her word; the person being sanctioned is “estopped”.
  • Estoppel may prevent someone from bringing a particular claim.
  • Legal doctrines of estoppel are based in both common law and equity.
  • It is also a concept in international law.
  • Estoppel is an equitable doctrine.
  • Accordingly, any person wishing to assert an estoppel must normally come to the court with “clean hands”.
  • The doctrine of estoppel (which may prevent a party from asserting a right) is often confused with the doctrine of waiver (which relates to relinquishing a right once it has arisen).
  • It also substantially overlaps with, but is distinct from, the equitable doctrine of laches.

Syllabus: Prelims

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