Amalgamated Investment and Property Co Ltd (in Liq) v Texas Commerce International Bank Ltd: CA 1982

The court explained the nature of an estoppel by convention.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘The doctrine of estoppel is one of the most flexible and useful in the armoury of the law. But it has become overloaded with cases. That is why I have not gone through them all in this judgment. It has evolved during the last 150 years in a sequence of separate developments: proprietary estoppel, estoppel by representation of fact, estoppel by acquiescence, and promissory estoppel. At the same time it has been sought to be limited by a series of maxims: estoppel is only a rule of evidence, estoppel cannot give rise to a cause of action, estoppel cannot do away with the need for consideration, and so forth. All these can now be seen to merge into one general principle shorn of limitations. When the parties to a transaction proceed on the basis of an underlying assumption – either of fact or of law – whether due to misrepresentation or mistake makes no difference – on which they have conducted the dealings between them – neither of them will be allowed to go back on that assumption when it would be unfair or unjust to allow him to do so. If one of them does seek to go back on it, the courts will give the other such remedy as the equity of the case demands.’ and ‘If parties to a contract, by their course of dealing, put a particular interpretation on the terms of it – on the faith of which each of them — to the knowledge of the other — acts and conducts their mutual affairs — they are bound by that interpretation just as much as if they had written it down as being a variation of the contract. There is no need to inquire whether their particular interpretation is correct or not — or whether they were mistaken or not — or whether they had in mind the original terms or not. Suffice it that they have, by their course of dealing, put their own interpretation on their contract, and cannot be allowed to go back on it.’

Lord Denning MR, Brandon LJ
[1982] QB 84, [1981] 1 All ER 923, [1981] 2 WLR 554, [1982] 1 Lloyds Rep 27
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedParry v Edwards Geldard (A Firm) ChD 1-May-2001
The court had to decide the measure of damages. The claimant had lost the opportunity to acquire without charge a milk quota. The claimant asserted an estoppel by convention. This failed. Also the judge had not properly allowed for the marriage . .
CitedWilson v Truelove ChD 25-Mar-2003
The claimants requested a declaration that an option to repurchase land was void under the 1964 Act.
Held: The option to repurchase land was prima facie void. The right arose on the coming into existence of the agreement, or at the latest on . .
CitedValentine v Allen and others CA 4-Jul-2003
There was a claim in trespass arising from mistakes arising on the setting up of a small residential development. An easement necessary to the enjoyment of the plots sold off, was required over land no longer owned by the grantor at the time of the . .
CitedDun and Bradstreet Software Services (England) Ltd; Dun and Bradstreet Software Services Ltd v Provident Mutual Life Assurance Association and General Accident Linked Life Assurance CA 9-Jun-1997
Break clauses had been exercised on behalf of the plaintiffs. The defendant landlords appealed a decision upholding the notices. A penalty rent had been sought.
Held: There had been no sufficient agency established to validate the notice. The . .
CitedGodden v Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association CA 15-Jan-1997
The Plaintiff was a building contractor; the Defendant a housing association engaged in developing suitable sites for residential accommodation for letting to tenants. Before the contract the parties had successfully completed what was been called . .
CitedWayling v Jones CA 2-Aug-1993
The plaintiff and defendant were in a homosexual relationship. The plaintiff worked for the defendant for nominal expenses against his repeated promise to leave the business to him in his will. A will was made to that effect, but the defendant sold . .
CitedStrover and Another v Strover and Another ChD 10-May-2005
Insurance policies had been taken out by the partners in a firm. The surviving family of one and the remaining partners contested ownership. The policy was held in part for the benefit of the family. The premiums had been paid from partnership . .
CitedNorwegian American Cruises A/S (formerly Norwegian American Lines A/S) v Paul Munday Ltd (The ‘Vistafjord’) 1988
A party may be precluded by an estoppel by convention from raising a contention contrary to a common assumption of fact or law (which could include the validity of a notice) upon which they have acted. . .
CitedStancliffe Stone Company Ltd v Peak District National Park Authority QBD 22-Jun-2004
The claimants sought a declaration. Planning permission had been confirmed for four mineral extraction sites by letter in 1952. In 1996, two were listed as now being dormant. The claimant said the letter of 1952 created on single planning permision . .
CitedTrustee Solutions Ltd and others v Dubery and Another ChD 21-Jun-2006
The rules of a pensions scheme were altered. It was required that any such alteration be in writing, but the trustees had not signed the document creating the amendment.
Held: The words ‘writing under hand’ clearly required a signature, and . .
CitedJohnson v Gore Wood and Co HL 14-Dec-2000
Shareholder May Sue for Additional Personal Losses
A company brought a claim of negligence against its solicitors, and, after that claim was settled, the company’s owner brought a separate claim in respect of the same subject-matter.
Held: It need not be an abuse of the court for a shareholder . .
CitedScottish and Newcastle Plc v Lancashire Mortgage Corporation Ltd CA 5-Jul-2007
The parties each had a charge over a property, and now disputed which had priority. The brewery appealed an order for rectification of the registers to reverse priority on the basis of an estoppel. The charge in their favour had been registered . .
CitedCity Connect Management Ltd v Telia International Carrier UK and Another TCC 30-Jul-2004
The parties sought the expenses incurred in negotiating a development contract which failed before the documents were signed. . .
CitedAJ Building and Plastering Ltd v Turner and Others QBD 11-Mar-2013
An insurance company had engaged a main contractor to handle repairs to houses insured under its policies. The contractor had engaged the claimant subcontractor to carry out the works at the defendants’ homes, but then went into insolvent . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Equity, Estoppel, Land, Estoppel

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.180371