Sidney Bolsom Investment Trust Ltd v E Karmios and Co (London) Ltd: CA 1956

The tenants had intended to ask for a new tenancy of 14 years, but by mistake, the notice of request implied a new lease of seven years. The request nevertheless set out the duration of the proposed new tenancy. The tenants tried to bring in parol evidence to show the mistake. The tenant argued that the request was invalid because it was made under a mistake. The judge had admitted evidence of the mistake.
Held: The additional evidence was inadmissible.
Lord Denning MR said: ‘I do not think that that evidence was admissible. This case falls, to my mind, within the general principle that parol evidence cannot be admitted to add to, vary, or contract the terms of a written document. Once a tenant, whatever his inmost state of mind, has to all outward appearances made a valid request in the prescribed form setting out his proposals, he cannot thereafter rely on his own mistake to say that it was a nullity or invalid, no matter how important the mistake was.’ and
‘But in order to work as an estoppel, the representation must be clear and unequivocal, it must be intended to be acted on, and in fact acted on. And when I say it must be ‘intended to be acted upon,’ I would add that a man must be taken to intend what a reasonable person would understand him to intend. In short, the representation must be made in such circumstances as to convey an invitation to act on it.’


Lord Denning MR


[1956] 1 QB 529, [1956] 1 All ER 536, [1956] 2 WLR 625


Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 26

Cited by:

CitedGill v Woodall and Others ChD 5-Oct-2009
The claimant challenged her late mother’s will which had left the entire estate to a charity. She asserted lack of knowledge and approval and coercion, and also an estoppel. The will included a note explaining that no gift had been made because she . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Landlord and Tenant, Estoppel

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.374700