FOAKES v BEER AND PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL: A STEP TOO FAR

Author: Pearce, Luke

Source: King's Law Journal, Volume 19, Number 3, 2008 , pp. 630-636(7)

Publisher: Hart Publishing

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Abstract:

The rule in FOAKES v BEER states that part payment of a debt can never be good consideration for a promise to forego the balance. In the recent case of Collier v Wright, the Court of Appeal has effectively nullified that rule by expanding the doctrine of promissory estoppel to come the aid of the debtor in all such cases. This note argues that in so doing it has stretched the doctrine of promissory estoppel beyond its appropriate limits. Two aspects of the decision are focussed on. First, it appears that detrimental reliance is no longer a requirement of promissory estoppel. This, it is argued, is both contrary to authority and principle. Second, there are signs that the requirement that it must be ‘inequitable’ to go back on the promise is being misunderstood as a license for the unreasoned exercise of judicial discretion.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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