Contractual estoppel
Produced in partnership with Nicholas Macklam of Radcliffe Chambers

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Nicholas Macklam of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Contractual estoppel
  • Contractual estoppel—arising from the general principles of the doctrine of estoppel
  • Contractual estoppel—what is it?
  • Contractual estoppel—when is it most commonly raised?
  • Contractual estoppel—relationship with entire agreement and non-reliance clauses
  • Contractual estoppel contrasted with evidential estoppel
  • Contractual estoppel—is reasonableness relevant to contractual estoppel?
  • Contractual estoppel—are there any limits to its application?

Contractual estoppel

This Practice Note discusses contractual estoppel as it has evolved from the decision in Peekay v ANZ Banking Group. For a summary of the key decisions concerning contractual estoppel since Peekay Intermark v ANZ Banking Group, see Practice Note: Contractual estoppel—the authorities.

Contractual estoppel—arising from the general principles of the doctrine of estoppel

Before discussing what has become known as contractual estoppel in detail, it is helpful to begin with a reminder of the nature of estoppel generally, taken from the dicta of Lord Denning MR in Amalgamated Investment v Texas Commerce (at 584) (as cited with apparent approval by Lord Bingham in Johnson v Gore Wood):

‘…When the parties to a transaction proceed on the basis of an underlying assumption (either of fact or of law, and whether due to misrepresentation or mistake, makes no difference), on which they have conducted the dealings between them, neither of them will be allowed to go back on that assumption when it would be unfair or unjust to allow him to do so. If one of them does seek to go back on it, the courts will give the other such remedy as the equity of the case demands.’

Similarly, in ING Bank v Ros Roca, Lord Justice Carnwath (as he then was) cited with approval Lord Steyn's dicta in Republic of India v India Steamship Co (at 391)

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