Broken promises - proprietary estoppel claims

Sometimes a promise is no more than a promise and it can be broken (whereas a contract is a contract and you can sue if the contract is broken).

Sometimes promises can be enforced before, but more commonly after, death.
When can you bring a claim to enforce a broken promise?

The legal term is proprietary estoppel. 

To bring a claim, you have to demonstrate three things:

  1. That there was a promise. 
  2. That you did something (significant) in reliance on that promise.  (For instance, giving up a job, or working for less money than you might have earned elsewhere).
  3. That what you did can be regarding as having incurred a burden or a detriment.

Our approach to disputes

We bring claims on behalf of a broad range of individuals seeking to enforce broken promises, and equally we defend claims.

We can draw on our extensive experience in opposing claims when representing charity clients who rely on people leaving a legacy to charity. 

Whichever side we represent, we work to achieve a settlement out of Court where possible.  However, we will take claims to trial in the face of unreasonable behaviour. 

How we can help

If you are looking at bringing a proprietary estoppel claim, need to defend a claim that a broken promise should be honoured, or have any questions, our expert team is happy to help.  Call us today on +44 (0)20 7597 6483.

Our team

The team has considerable experience and practical knowledge in representing clients in proprietary estoppel claims (ie claims to enforce broken promises). 

Notable cases include

  • Representing the successful defendants in a case where the Judge refused to allow a proprietary estoppel claim into existing proceedings relating to Chettle, one of the few villages in the UK which is still privately owned  (Bourke v Favre)

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