The judicial discretion to be exercised in successful proprietary estoppel cases is a distinctive feature of that doctrine. In Crabbe v Arun District Council, Scarman LJ talked of ‘the minimum equity to do justice to the plaintiff’. But what does this mean?
Being able to answer this question becomes more urgent as the number of proprietary estoppel cases increases. Some degree of predictability as to likely outcomes might encourage negotiated solutions to disputes. Clarity as to the relevant principles is important to avoid suggestions that courts are dispensing ‘Palm Tree justice’.
Approaches to the principles governing the exercise of the judicial discretion largely reflect judicial understandings as to the essence of proprietary estoppel. Is the aim to enforce non-contractual promises or to compensate for detriment?
In Guest v Guest, the UK Supreme Court embarked on an important exercise of clarifying the central aims of proprietary estoppel and the principles governing equitable relief.
In this seminar we will explain and discuss:
1. the essential elements of proprietary estoppel;
2. the facts and history of Guest v Guest;
3. the approach to designing equitable relief of the majority of the Supreme Court (contrasting it with the minority approach);
4. the potential impact of Guest v Guest in Hong Kong.
About the Speaker:
The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.