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Application of Promissory Estoppel

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kazzasingh's version from 2017-03-30 10:35

Promises prohibited by legislation

Question Answer
Evans v Amicus Healthcare Ltd [2003] Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 - The claimants and their former partners had undergone fertility treatment resulting in frozen embryos being kept pending possible implantation. The relationship had in each case failed, and the potential fathers had refused consent, but the claimants sought to be allowed to have the eggs implanted. Held: Permission was refused. The father’s consent was required to be continuing, and that was absent. Treatment was to a couple ‘together’. The Act gave an unconditional right for either party to withdraw consent, and that right continued until implantation. The consents originally given were no longer valid. There was no breach of the claimants’ article 8 rights, since the act served a legitimate purpose. The male was not given a veto, but each had equal rights, and no estoppel could be established.
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Promissory Estoppel and Consideration: erosion of the rule in Foakes v Beer?

Question Answer
Collier v P & MJ Wright (Holdings) Ltd [2007]Mr Collier was one of three partners of a property developer. They had assented to a court order to pay £46,000 to Wright Ltd in monthly installments of £600, and were jointly liable. From 1999 the payments went down to £200 a month. In 2000, swore Mr Collier, there was a meeting where Wright Ltd said he would be severally liable (for £15,600), rather than jointly (as a partner). The other two partners went bankrupt in 2002 and 2004. In 2006, when Mr Collier had finally made his payments (totalling exactly one third of the debt) Wrights served on him a statutory demand for the 'balance of the debt'. Mr Collier applied under rule 6.4 of the Insolvency Rules 1986 (because the debt was disputable on ‘substantial grounds’ (r.6.5(4)(b)); so he only needed to show there was a ‘genuine triable issue’ in which case the court would set aside the demand. He alleged the variation agreement was binding, or if not that Wright Ltd was estopped from enforcing the full payment. HELD: The rule in Foakes v Beer [1884] applied, whereby the part payment of a debt is not satisfaction for the whole with regards to consideration. However, estoppel prevented the defendant from revoking his promise.
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