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What is Estoppel?

Estoppel is a term often used in legal arguments involving contracts. But what does it mean?

In a contract, a person (A) is ‘estopped’ (prevented from) denying that they will act in a certain way in relation to the contract with another person (B), when A has given


a clear and unequivocal promise or assurance;
to B;
that A will not enforce their strict legal rights under the contract;
which promise or assurance is intended to affect the legal relations between them; and
which is reasonably understood by B to have that effect; and
which is in fact acted upon by B.


So, if B relies on the promise given by A, A cannot then seek to substitute the strict legal terms of the contract.

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