Woodhouse AC Israel Cocoa Ltd SA v Nigerian Produce Marketing Co Ltd: HL 1972

To found a promissory estoppel there has to be a clear and unequivocal representation as to the intended actions of the defendant.
Lord Hailsham LC reiterated the proposition derived from Low v Bouverie that in order to give rise to an estoppel, a representation should be clear and unequivocal, and he indicated that if a representation was not made in such a form, it would not matter that the representee had misconstrued it and relied upon it. Lord Hailsham LC also addressed the dictum of Bowen LJ in Low v Bouverie, and said: ‘I am satisfied that, in the second sentence of the above quotation, the meaning is to exclude far-fetched or strained, but still possible, interpretations, whilst still insisting on a sufficient precision and freedom from ambiguity to ensure that the representation will (not may) be reasonably understood in the particular sense required. I do not regard this second sentence as any authority for general qualification of the first. On the contrary, the first sentence governs the second and contains the very proposition for which Low v. Bouverie is rightly cited as an authority.’


Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone LC


[1972] AC 741, [1971] 2 QB 23, [1971] 1 All ER 605, [1971] 2 WLR 272


England and Wales


CitedLow v Bouverie CA 1891
If a trustee chooses to answer questions from a stranger about the cestui que trust, his legal obligation is only to answer honestly and to the best of his information. He need not make enquiries to support those answers.
Bowen LJ said: . .

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedSuper Chem Products Limited v American Life and General Insurance Company Limited and Others PC 12-Jan-2004
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) A fire occurred at premises in which the stock was insured under two policies. Both insurers denied the claims alleging arson, and that it was out of time. The claimant said that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.188169