Central London Property Trust Ltd V High Trees House Ltd - Impact


The doctrine of promissory estoppel has had a major impact on English and Irish contract law since the High Trees case. Debates surrounding the expansion and application of the doctrine have included whether or not detrimental reliance is required in order to bring the doctrine into effect, whether the doctrine can create a cause of action or merely provide a defence to a cause of action and whether or not the evolution of the doctrine has abrogated or abolished the rule in Pinnel's case.

In Amalgamated Investment Co v Texas Bank Q.B. 84 it was held that the doctrine could act as a sword and not merely as a shield (that is, it could be used as a cause of action rather than merely providing a defence to an action).

Attempts have been made to utilize the doctrine of promissory estoppel after High Trees to create a new inroad into the rule in Pinnel's case that an agreement to accept part payment of a debt in full satisfaction of it is unenforceable for want of consideration. In the High Trees case Lord Denning commented, obiter, that such an agreement should now be enforceable under the doctrine of promissory estoppel. However, the courts have traditionally been reluctant to overrule cases like Pinnel's case and Foakes v Beer as they have formed part of the common law for so long. Lady Justice Arden in Collier v P & MJ Wright (Holdings) Ltd EWCA Civ 1329 accepted in principle that High Trees could be used to extinguish a creditor's right to full payment of a debt in such circumstances.

Read more about this topic:  Central London Property Trust Ltd V High Trees House Ltd

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