This article appeared in the Lang Michener LLP InBrief Fall 2010. Estoppel is a legal principle that keeps people and businesses from, essentially, going back on their word or promise. Equity, In addition, the law changes rapidly and sometimes with little notice so from time to time, an article may not be up to date. Clean Hands. City of Des Plaines, 171 N.E.2d 605 (Ill. 1961), the Illinois Supreme Court concluded that the facts in the case were sufficient to raise an equitable estoppel claim against the city. Equitable estoppel, or “equitable tolling,” may be raised by a plaintiff in opposition to a statute of limitations defense. But when courts found this to be overly harsh, various "equitable" doctrines were developed to give the courts greater discretion. There are two general types of estoppel: equitable and legal. Res judicata and issue estoppel exist at the intersection of procedural and substantive law. Equitable Estoppel in High Tree’s Case This decision was ignored by the courts for a while until it was revisited by Lord Denning in the landmark High Tree Case in this case, the plaintiff leased a block of flats to the defendants in 1937. A form of estoppel encountered in contract law is promissory estoppel, which enforces a reasonable promise made by one party if another party acted on … promissory estoppel (sometimes referred to as equitable forbearance)—where A has made to B a clear and unequivocal promise or assurance in relation to their legal relations, which was intended to be acted on accordingly, then, once B has taken A at their word and acted on it to their detriment, A cannot afterwards revert to their previous legal relations as if no promise or assurance had been made by them. This doctrine is founded on principles of fraud. But when courts found this to be overly harsh, various "equitable" doctrines were developed to give the courts greater discretion. Paterson, Robertson & Duke, Principles of Contract Law(Lawbook Co, 3rd ed, 2009), pp. equitable estoppel, sometimes known as estoppel in pais, protects one party from being harmed by another party's voluntary conduct. In order to successfully raise an estoppel defence, the party seeking to defeat the legal rights of the other must show: In those circumstances, the court may find that it is inequitable to allow the first party to go back on its representation or promise and enforce its full legal rights. In most simplistic words, this is about how a defendant can take advantage of the lapses on the part of Plaintiff and turn around the outcome of ruling. "It is the principle by which a party is precluded from denying any material fact, induced by his or her words or conduct upon which a person relied, whereby the person changed his or her position in such a way that injury would be suffered if such denial or assertion was allowed.... "In its broadest sense, equitable estoppel is a means of preventing a party from asserting a legal claim or defense that is contrary or inconsistent with his or her prior action of conduct.". (This is often said to be a requirement that there be "detrimental reliance"). This, for example, can arise in a lease context. Promissory estoppel is a cause of action that might be asserted against a party for the first party’s detrimental reliance upon a promise from the second party. Historically the common law permitted parties to pursue their legal rights in all circumstances. Second, the court held that the tenant's argument would have failed even if that was found to be a representation, because there was no evidence that the tenant relied on the invoice for the lower rent to its detriment. Related Terms: Estoppel, Equitable Estoppel Therefore, this is merely legal information designed to educate the reader. 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