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An estoppel licence may bind third parties
It appears that the doctrine of proprietary estoppel may be used to create licences which actually bind third parties and are very close to proprietary rights
a doctrine whereby equity may take property rights away from somebody who has acted in an unconscionable way and transfer them to the person who has suffered as a result of the unconscionability
Before a court will award a remedy on the basis of proprietary estoppel it must be proved that there was
3. UNCONSCIONABLE ACT
- 1. Assurance - the person was led to believe that they would acquire an interest over property
- 2. Reliance - they acted on the reliance (e.g. gave up a job to look after the person who made the representation)
- 3. Detriment - they suffered detriment in reliance of the representation made to them (e.g. expended monies on the property)
- 4. Unconscionable act - such as if the promisor reneges on his promise
Re JR ( A Ward of Court)
- While in a psychiatric facility the plaintiff was promised by another patient that she could go and live with him for the foreseeable future. She left a permanent home to do so and ...fill in the details later...
- the Irish courts showed a willingness to presume a detriment had arisen when she left her permanent home on the promise of another, even though there was no evidence that this was the reason for the plaintiffs decision to leave her own property
CULLEN V CULLEN (1962)
If a licensor leads a licencee to believe that they will acquire an interest in the property and the licensee then acts on the basis of this to his detriment, the licence already enjoyed maybe strengthened by the attachment of an equitable element that can make the licence a more permanent and sometimes a proprietary right.
John Cullen was a business man and farmer. He suffered from paranoia and was convinced his family were going to have him committed. He told his wife that he would sign his property over to her. His wife then won a mobile home which she gave to her son. John Cullen gave permission to his son to erect the mobile home on his land as he intended to sign it over to his wife anyway. |Based on this representation Martin Cullen spent a lot of money on preparing the foundations and plumbing etc. Soon after John Cullen wrote to his wife and son through a solicitor instructing them to vacate the premises and cease involvement in his business. The son claimed that he was entitled to ownership on the basis of estoppel. The result of the solicitors letter was that Martins licence was revoked but the law of equity restricted the revokation of the licence based on the representation made. John Cullen ws estopped from asserting his title over the land because of the promise he had made to his son, that he could place his mobile home there and reside there for as long as he wished. The son then spent a considerable sum on the property which he otherwise would ot have spent
MCMAHON V KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL (1981)
McMahon bought land in 1965 in order to build a school but abandoned this idea a couple of years later. He did not mark or fence off this land and in 1968 he discovered workers planning to build on the land for the defendant. He complained and the work stopped. However in 1972 the defendant County Council built 2 houses on the site for local authority tenants. The plaintiff attempted to claim possession of the properties and the defendant claimed entitlement by estoppel, they argued that by not fencing off the land the defendant was led to believ e he had entitlement persuant to Ramsden v Dyson. Finlay P found that the underlying principle in Ramsden is the requirement on the part of the landowner to act equitably and in good conscience.
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