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Gillett v Holt

[2001] Conv 13 and 78

Case summary last updated at 09/01/2020 16:24 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Gillett v Holt

  P promised D that he would leave property to him in his will and even announced it at family gatherings, however D did not leave it to P. P claimed the property under proprietary estoppel, and the court allowed his claim, the belief being sufficiently certain. Robert Walker LJ: “unconscionability” was the key to proprietary estoppel, and the requirement of detriment was only considered as part of a broad investigation into unconscionability. It was not necessary to show an irrevocable promise, since the doctrine of proprietary estoppel made it irrevocable (Circular argument: it claims the doctrine makes statements definite, when actually the doctrine does not bite in the first place unless the understanding is definite itself- Gardner). He accepts the broad view that the court should “look at the circumstances in each case to decide in what way the equity can be satisfied”.

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