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3 Reliance

From: The Law of Proprietary Estoppel (2nd Edition)

Ben McFarlane

From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 04 October 2022

Applicable law — Property and title and choice of law — Reliance damages — Passing of property

This chapter examines person B’s reliance. Where B makes a proprietary estoppel claim, reliance must be pleaded. It is an essential element of B’s claim as it is necessary to establish a connection between A’s action or inaction and the detriment that B would suffer in the absence of a claim against A. As the second of the three main elements of proprietary estoppel, reliance can thus be seen as forming the link between the first and third of those elements. In the absence of reliance, A’s acquiescence, representation, or assurance cannot, by itself, mean that A should have to bear the responsibility of ensuring that B does not suffer a detriment. The reliance requirement can therefore be seen as raising an issue of causation: as in other areas of law, causation must be proved in order to attribute to A responsibility for B’s position. In the context of proprietary estoppel, such attribution depends on establishing a relevant link between A and the prospective detriment of which B complains. This is achieved by showing that the particular action or inaction of B that has exposed B to the prospect of such detriment was caused by A’s acquiescence, representation, or assurance.

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