The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with David Gallagher of Fieldfisher LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The doctrine of estoppel has been described as ‘one of the most flexible and useful in the armoury of the law’ by Lord Denning MR.
Estoppel is a wide term used to describe the position where one party is stopped by the court from advancing certain propositions because they are contrary to the position which that party has previously taken. It is normally only available where there has been some form of reliance on the representation previously made by the other party to the proceedings. There are various academic debates as to whether estoppel is a rule of evidence or a rule of law and whether it can found a positive claim or can only be used as a defence.
While estoppel has previously had significant application to occupational pension schemes, in recent times estoppel-based arguments have been less likely to succeed.
For further information, see Estoppel and pensions.
This case’s significance lies in Lord Denning MR’s restatement of the doctrine of estoppel in his judgment.
In Amalgamated Investment, Lord Denning MR recounted how estoppel had developed over 150 years in various forms, including proprietary estoppel, estoppel by representation of fact, estoppel by acquiescence and promissory estoppel. It had given rise to a number of maxims but all of these could seem to be merged into one general principle:
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