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Law Notes Land Law Notes

Proprietary Estoppel Notes

Updated Proprietary Estoppel Notes

Land Law Notes

Land Law

Approximately 987 pages

Land Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB land law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best Land Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through dozens of LLB samples from outstanding law students with the highest results in ...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Land Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:


  • A encourages B to believe he has a right over A’s land or that A will confer such a right on him, and B then, in reliance on that belief, acts to his detriment, B may be entitled to relief (a right in rem).

  • Requirements

  1. Licensee firmly believed that either licensor has given him the right over his land or that he will do so

  • Belief must be definite (not mere possibility) (Yeoman’s Row Management v Cobbe)

  • Wills - belief sufficiently definite if D promises to leave property to C &announcesto his family on important family occasions (Gillett v Holt)

  • Notmuch specificity: enough to say ‘we’ll sort something out’ if it implies C would have a right

  • Right doesn’t have to be identified w/great degree of precision

  • Thorner v Major - C believed he would inherit D’s farm, debate as to what it comprised; court took it to cover buildings, live & dead stock, other assets of farming business & money in D’s business acc.

  • Right doesn’t have to be in rem – enough C believes in a right over land/ property, not that D will do something for him

  • No representation but C relied = no equity

  • Crabb v Arun - C promised right of way to access his land by council sold his property w/out reserving a right of way, council repudiated, built a wall, then offered to reopen @ 3K cost. C successfully claimed prop. estoppel.

  1. Licensee has acted to his detriment in reasonable reliance on that belief

  • Any act sufficient, as long as it’s detrimental

  • i.e. reliance left C worse off than he was before acting on D’s assurance

  • Mostly uncontroversial but seems to be flexible:

  • Gillett v Holt- C suffered a detriment when, believing he’d inherit D’s land, remained in D’s employment, continued living rent-free in D’s house & and paid for son’s boarding school. Possible C was worse off but to conclude so involved speculation about how C would have fared otherwise

  • Greasley v Cooke- unconscionability& detriment run together. D worked as a maid and lived with P’s family for 30 years, was assured she could remain after P’s death; had looked after the house and an ill member of P’s family hence it was unjust and inequitable to resile.

  1. Belief was a reasonable product of assurance (i.e. encouragement or acquiescence) by the licensor

  • Spectrum of 2 extremes:

  1. C developed the belief b/c of what D said – straightforward

  2. C conceived it himself/b/c of something he picked up elsewhere & D didn’t correct him must prove D’s awareness that C held that belief, otherwise failure to correct is irrelevant

  • Belief was at least a but for cause of the detriment

  • Wayling v Jones – trustworthiness may also be factor

  • Onus of proof on D –must show absence of reasonable reliance by C

  • If D said something that C has put an interpretation on that a reasonable person wouldn’t have, D isn’t liable (hasn’t been always followed)

  1. Unconscionability – a stand-alone 4th requirement or underlying consideration for the court?

  • D must have some resp.: no knowledge of specific sale but awareness of general intent (Crabb v Arun)

  • Cooke (connected to detrimental reliance) - word ‘unconscionable’ does 2 jobs:

    1. points to equity tradition & discretionary nature of court’s jurisdiction

    2. indicates issues relevant in decision. Used as description of whole process of inquiry/one of items on checklist, summing up other factors. Decisions involving it aren’t mere value judgments - court examines detrimental reliance

  • Birks (not a separate requirement) - treating it as separate element would be like 5th wheel to the coach (specifically, using ‘unconscionable’ to describe the state of a mind)

  • Lord Walker in Yeoman’s Row (unifies & confirms other elements) - unconscionability should be used as objective value judgment on behaviour, regardless of individual’s state of mind. Its role is to unify & confirm other elements. If they are present but result doesn’t shock the conscience of court, analysis must be looked at again.

  • Dixon (independent requirement) – unconscionability exists by definition whenever there’s assurance, reliance & detriment, b/c non performance of it will always be unconscionable. A flawed & unprincipled approach to view it as no more than a function of these. It’s an independent requirement; i.e. need double assurance A promised to give B a right in the future +...

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