Promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel. Both needed?

In Bestkey Development Ltd v Incorporated Owners of Fine Mansion ([1999] 2 HKLRD 662, CA) the developer of apartments kept a share in the building. The Deed of Mutual Covenant reserved exclusive use of several parts of the building for the owner of that share. One of these parts was a room that was used as the management office. A successor in title of the developer brought proceedings against the incorporated owners and the management company seeking possession of the room. The claim failed. The defendants relied successfully on both promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel. Some of the owners claimed that they had relied to their detriment on assurances that the management office was on site. This representation was made both in the sales brochure and in other representations to individual buyers. The office had been maintained and refurbished by the defendants for 20 years before the plaintiff’s claim. The former seems to have been the basis of the promissory estoppel claim and the latter the basis of the proprietary estoppel claim.

Liu JA remarked that it is helpful to retain the distinction between proprietary and promissory estoppel:

‘Indeed, there still exists the significant difference between a proprietary estoppel which entitles the representee to attack and a promissory estoppel which would not ..’ (at 668)


One Response to “Promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel. Both needed?”

  1. Estoppel | You Should Never Go back On Your Word Once Given Says:

    […] Estoppel Memory Aidestoppel by deed definedPromissory Estoppel CasesEstoppel arguments fail once again in an oil and gas lease caseThursday 26th April 2012Promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel. Both needed […]

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