Proprietary Estoppel

kazzasingh's version from 2017-03-30 11:03


Question Answer
Crabb v Arun DC [1975] A Mr Alford owned a 5 ½ acre plot of land, two acres of which had been developed with industrial buildings, the other three and a half acres was undeveloped. Mr Alford died. His executors obtained planning permission for the erection of houses on the undeveloped portion and the land was then sold onto the defendant District Council. The two-acre plot was sold to Mr Crabb, the claimant. The development necessitated the construction of a new road and as part of the sale, Mr Crabb was granted a right of way on the road and an access point to his land. Also as part of the sale, the Council were to erect a fence 5 ft 6in high along the boundary of the two plots and leaving the access point. After the sale had gone through, but before the erection of the fence, Mr Crabb decided he wished to divide his plot in two and sell half. For this he would need another access point and approached the council. The council informally agreed to a second access point and when they erected the fence they left two access points with gates at each. Mr Crabb then sold half the land which had the formal access point and retained for himself the portion of land that had the informal access point. He did not reserve any right of way on the land he sold. He then had a disagreement with the Council. The council pulled down the gate and erected a fence at the access point leaving Mr Crabb’s land with no access. They then asked for £3,000 to grant him access. Mr Crabb claimed that he had a right of access arising through proprietary estoppel. Held: Mr Crabb was entitled to an easement granting right of access arising through an estoppel. He was not required to pay for it.
Cobbe v Yeoman’s Row Management Ltd [2008]The claimant engaged in significant effort in obtaining planning permission towards contractual negotiations. HELD: No proprietary estoppel as the the claimant was well aware that he did not have an enforceable contract in place. Estoppel does not apply as easily to experienced businessmen
Thorner v Major [2009]The claimant had worked for the late-defendant’s estate for 30 years, unpaid. He believed that he would inherit the farm, following non-explicit but obvious communications from the defendant. Upon the defendant’s death, his estate passed by statue, not to the claimant. HELD: Although no clear assurances had been made, proprietary estoppel requires only that assurances are ‘clear enough’, they need not be ‘clear and unequivocal’. Proprietary estoppel can only operate on identified property, which may fluctuate in value.