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Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel - Essay Example

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This research begins with the statement that consideration and promissory estoppel are key parts of contracts: Consideration is one of the three pillars of contract law in the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth, and promissory estoppel is one of the ways contracts can be meaningfully enforced…
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Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel
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Download file to see previous pages This research tells that Amelia offered her nephew, Dan, two thousand pounds if he worked hard and got a second class degree, and her sister, Betti, five hundred pounds for errands. She also offered a two hundred fifty pound reduction of a loan she had given to Betti's husband, Giles. Giles pays the seven hundred and fifty pounds. Dan does very little work but does get a first-class degree. Amelia now wishes to know her obligations to Betti underneath this contract. The legal questions are 1. Does Dan's meeting of the second-class degree standard mean that that part of the contract is fulfilled? 2. Did the term “second-class degree” mean “at least a second-class degree” or “a second-class degree exclusively?” 3. Are the contract elements severable; that is, is Dan's possible fulfillment of the contract separate from Giles' clear fulfillment of his duties? 4. Does it make any difference that Giles, rather than Betti, paid the seven hundred and fifty pounds? 5. Can “work hard” be meaningfully quantified? Contract Interpretation The issues of the contract should be considered separately. They are 1. The offering of money to Dan for working hard and achieving a second-class degree. 2. The offering of money to Amelia for errands in the past. (However, it seems that the errands are moot: Whether Betti actually had done errands for Amelia or not, they are accepted by the contract as a matter of fact). 3. The offering of a two-hundred-fifty pound discount on a prior one thousand loan by Amelia to Giles. There are many elements to contracts even before considering the issues of estoppel and promissory consideration: Acceptance, offer, consideration, the contract being oral or written, the severability of various elements, etc. Consideration is a part of this contract, however: Both parties are offering something of value1. The family unit as a whole (Giles, Dan, and Betti) are clearly part of this contract, with Amelia being the other party. For this reason, it is moot if Giles or Betti pays the seven hundred fifty pounds unless the contract specifically states otherwise. (This will, in turn, be dependent on whether the contract is verbal or written). Acceptance of the contract is an issue. Giles owed a thousand pounds. The only concrete sign on the part of Betti's family unit is the seven hundred fifty pounds Giles paid. Amelia can make a reasonable argument that she was accepting partial payment and that this was not a sign of acceptance. Similarly, Amelia paying Betti five hundred pounds could be considered as payment for a prior act, not a fulfillment of the contract. The only sign of acceptance of the contract that would not be prompted by other prior considerations between the two families would be Dan working hard and getting a second-class degree, only half of which was ever wholly completed. While Amelia did extend an offer, it is arguable that there was ever an acceptance. The acceptance issue and the consideration issue are inextricable. Consideration “Consideration entails the parties' doing something that they were not previously bound to do outside of the agreement. In other words, promises must pay the price (consideration) that they agreed to pay the promisor in order to gain the right to enforce the promisor's obligation”. Giles was obliged to pay one thousand pounds; paying the seven hundred fifty pounds is not a consideration. Even if Betti had paid for it, she is obligated to pay the debts of her husband, as a unified family unit. But Giles did in fact pay, meaning that there had been no consideration prior. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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