The Doctrine of Estoppel

The doctrine of estoppels originates from English Criminal Law. It is a legal concept that bars a party to a suit to renege from or doing the contrary of which he or she has led another to believe and the special case of relying on a previous judgment as conclusive of the issue or issues in dispute. 

By nature, estoppel is an admission which is conclusive and parties are not allowed to plead against it or advance contradictory evidence. The court considers it only fair that a person’s own act or acceptance should prevent him or her from alleging the contrary. According to Lord Coke, “Estoppel” comes from the French  Word, ‘estoupe’ and the English  word “stopped”. It is called estoppel  or conclusive  because a man’s  own act or acceptance stoppeth or closeth up his mouth to allege or plead the truth”

Estoppel can be by conduct, deed, larches, misrepresentation, negligence and as well as estoppels by judgment. It is a legal result or conclusion arising  from an admission which has either been actually made, or which the law presumes to have been  made, and which binds all persons whom it affects. Estoppel is a rule of evidence, which prevents a party from denying the truth of some statement, formerly made by him or her. Thus a person would be stopped from denying the existence of facts which he or she has by words or conduct led another to believe. If X by a representation, induces Y to change his position, X cannot be heard afterwards to deny the truth of his or her representation.

Statutory provisions relating to Estoppels are in Part X of the Evidence Act of 2011, the Matrimonial Causes Act, the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution, 1999 and the Rules of various High Courts of Justice. In the Constitution 1999, S36(9) says that no person, who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted, shall again be tried for that offence or for a criminal offence, having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a superior court. In S 173, 174, 65 and 169 of the Evidence Act, 2011 talks about Estoppel. Specifically, S 174 says if a judgment  is  not pleaded  by way of estoppel,  it is as between  parties  and privies deemed to be a relevant fact, whenever any matter, which was , or might have been, decided in the action in which it was given, is in issue, or is deemed to be relevant to the issue, in any subsequent proceeding.  

S 26 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, 2004 is another statutory provision for estoppel as it deals with Condonation and Connivance. According to the section, except where section 16(1) (g) of this Act applies, a decree of dissolution of marriage shall not be made if the petitioner has condoned or connived at the conduct constituting the facts on which the petition is based.

(d)  Rules of Court
Most High Court Rules contain provisions to the effect that:
An application to set aside for irregularity any proceedings, any step taken in any proceedings  or any document,  judgment  or order  therein  shall  not  be allowed unless it is made within a reasonable time and before the party applying has taken any first step after becoming aware of the irregularity. 
What the provisions seem to show is that estoppel is not static; but has continued to expand in different varieties according to the facts of each particular case, and at the same time, breeding a myriad of problems.
Each of the species may have its own peculiarity and what you find in one may not be in the other.   For example estoppel by record or by deed does not bind the statement, but estoppel by conduct does.
Your consolation is several folds:
i.  The  varieties  are  all  under  one  proof:  “Someone  is  estopped  from  saying something  or other;  or doing something  or other, continuing  or other”.   The rationale is that when a person, by words or conduct, has led another to believe in a particular state of affairs, that person will not be allowed to go back on it when it would be unjust or inequitable for him or her to do so.
ii. The doctrine, whether as a rule of evidence or a rule of substantive law or in whatever form of estoppel, is rooted on the principle of justice and equity that no man should be allowed to profit from his own act or omission, which the other side has relied upon to his detriment or be allowed to raise a second time, a matter decided in a previous case.

The notion of estoppel is a combination of several elements such as: 

  • A clear and unqualified statement, which must be acted on.
  • The action must act on the faith of the statement to the detriment to the actor

The Nature of Estoppel and Rule

Estoppel may be looked at as a rule of evidence because it is contained in the statute (Evidence Act, Part X S62-64 and S169-172). In Ladega v. Durosimi (1978), Eso, JSC  (as he then was) confirmed that Estoppel “is essentially a rule of evidence; any relevant evidence  excluded  by  the  doctrine  of estoppels is inadmissible. It is also a rule of criminal Procedure - Constitution 1999, CPA Part 19 and CPC Sections 223-224. At the same time, estoppel may be a substantive law because a substantive law may be a cause of action. Generally the Evidence Act provides for estoppels and its proof. The Evidence Act is a substantive law and it contains a substantive law. Estoppel is a defence, but estoppel per rem judicata can also give rise to a cause of action. Brett JSC in Ijale v. AG Leventis (1961) ALL NLR 752 said that “Estoppel is often described as a rule of evidence... but the whole concept is more correctly viewed as a substantive rule of law.

Estoppels and Pleadings

Estoppel, the relevant and specific facts on which it relies, are required to be pleaded.  Estoppel then is (though not entirely) a matter of pleading. It looks like a rule because it set up by statute and also exclusionary, but unlike a rule, an estoppel is pleaded. 

Classification of Estoppels

  • Estoppel in pais
    • Estoppel in writing 
    • Estoppel by record 
    • Per Lord Denning: West Midlands Police Force & Anor (1980)
  • Estoppel by Representation  
    • Promissory estoppels  
    • Estoppel by deed 
    • Estoppel per rem Judicata
  • Estoppel by record  
  • Estoppel by deed  
  • Estoppel by conduct  
  • Equitable estoppel

All these depend on the different ways estoppel may arise. Lord Denning likens estoppels to a big  house with many rooms where what you find in one may not be found in others;  estoppels per rem judicata,  issue  estoppels, estoppel by acquiescence, estoppel by election, or  waiver, estoppel by negligence, promissory estoppel, proprietary estoppel, etc…
Estoppel by Record: This includes-
1.  Judgments of the Courts of Record
(i).  Cause of action estoppels
This is where a cause of action which has been litigated upon between the parties and finally determined by a court of record, having jurisdiction in the matter is brought again in a subsequent proceeding between the same parties
(ii).  Issue estoppels:
Issue estoppels arises where a fact in issue in the first cause of action has previously been decided and the same fact comes again in question in a different subsequent suit between the same parties
As regards estoppels by judgment, the general principle is that:
i. it is for the common good that there should be an end to litigation and  
ii. no one should be sued twice on the same ground.
In essence, every judgment is conclusive evidence for or against all persons, whether or not they are parties, of its own existence, date and legal effect, except as to the accuracy of the decision.   To create estoppels, therefore,  the judgment  must be unimpeachable, final, decided on the merit,  pronounced  by a competent  court and obtained  neither  by fraud nor by collusion.
A judgment is not evidence of a fact, which was not directly decided; e.g.  Collateral matters or matters that were incidental or merely inferable from arguments.  Accordingly, objections may be raised when the other party seeks to tender a judgment as evidence of the facts decided on the ground that:
i.  It is not a formal judgment.   It is only a final judgment when the rights of the parties have been determined, even though an appeal is possible
ii.  It was not decided on merits; e.g. if it was dismissed   for want of prosecution.
iii.  It is collusive, fraudulent or forged.
A judgment in rem is adjudication as to the status or condition of some particular subject matter of a Tribunal, having competent authority for that purpose.  Such judgment is   in rem juidicata   e.g a divorce, declaration of legitimacy, condemnation of a prize court, or adjudications in bankruptcy.   The estoppel that arises in subsequent proceeding on the same subject is estoppel per rem judicatum – a  rule of evidence whereby a party (or his privy) is precluded from disputing in any subsequent proceedings,  matters which have  been  adjudicated  upon  previously  by  a  competent  court  between  him  and  his opponent.
A judgment is a conclusion for or against all persons, of whatever matter it settles, as to the status of persons or property, the rights or title to property or whatever disposition of property or proceeds of sale it makes or other matters actually decided.  The reason is that public policy demands that questions of status and the like should not be left in doubt.
For  example,  A  decree  of  dissolution  or  nullity  of  marriage  on  the  ground  that  the marriage has broken down irretrievably, alters the status of the erstwhile spouses, and the ground  of divorce binds  the parties and privies  but not strangers.  Thus in Hill v Hill (1954) PD 291 W petitioned for divorce on grounds of cruelty, alleging several acts of violence against   H. Dismissing the petition,   the court held that the acts as   were complained about did not amount to cruelty.  H later petitioned for divorce on the ground of W’s desertion.    W pleaded justification based on acts of violence she had alleged on the previous proceedings.   Held W is estopped.   Also in EZENWANI  v ONWORDI  (1987) the Supreme  Court held that since the issue of traditional   history has been decided in an earlier case between parties on the same land in dispute, it has become issue estoppel and inadmissible in a subsequent suit between the same parties. 

Read: Biography of Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR, SAN

Res Judicata operates not only against the party whom it affects but also against the jurisdiction of the court itself.  The party affected  is stopped  per rem  judicatam  from bringing a fresh action before the court or from proving anything, which contradicts his previous  acts  or  declarations  to  the  prejudice  of  a  party.  The plea of res judicata prohibits the Court from inquiring into a matter already adjudicated upon.  Its effect is to oust the jurisdiction of the Court.
3.4.2 Parties
The  term  ‘Party’  means  not  only  a person  named  as such  but  also  one,  who,  being cognizant of the proceedings and of the facts that a party thereto is professing to act in his interest, allows his battle to be fought by that party intending to take the benefit of the championship in the success.



Privy here means Privity in blood (e.g. ancestors and heirs), privy in Law  (e.g. Bankrupt and trustee in bankruptcy), privy in Estate (e.g. Lessor and Lessee). For Privies to bind the party, the party or privies must sue or defend in the same right and character. An action  in a personal  capacity  cannot  create  estoppels in a subsequent action in a representative capacity or as an administrator. Hence a civil action will not create estoppel in a criminal proceeding and vice versa for the obvious reason that parties are different. 

  • Judgment  does  not  create  estoppels  for  or  against  a  stranger  unless  he  or  she knowingly stood by and did nothing to intervene in proceedings  in which he or she has an interest.
  • Judgments  are  admissible  to prove  facts  and  can  be  used  to  corroborate  other evidence even though the judgment does not amount to an estoppel.  Examples can be found in cases of: 
    • Bankruptcy  (Ex.Parte Anderson, re Tollemache (1885) 
    • Divorce  (Parrington V Parrington and Atkinson (1925).

The following judgment would not constitute estoppels: 

      • Judgments obtained by consent;
      • Judgment in default of appearance to the writ; 
      • Judgment of dismissal for want of persecution, not being dismissal on the merit; 
      • Consent  orders,  though  obtained  by fraud,  do estoppel  the parties until it is set aside;

Aniagolu  JSC explained the consequence as follows:
“A party to civil proceedings is not allowed to make an assertion against the other party, whether of facts or legal consequences  of facts, the correctness of which is an essential element in his cause of action or defence, if the same assertion was an essential  element  in his previous  cause  of action  or defence,  in a previous  suit between the same parties or their predecessors  in title, and was determined by a court  of competent  jurisdiction  unless  further  material be found,  which was not available,  and  could  not,  by reasonable  diligence,  have  been  available,  in the previous proceedings”.
“So established is issue estoppels in the laws of the common law countries that it has been held that where a final decision of an issue has been made by a criminal court of competent jurisdiction, it was a general rule of public policy that the use of a civil  action  to initiate  a collateral  attack  on the decision was an abuse of the process of the court, unless there was fresh evidence”.

Judgment in Personam

A judgment in personam is conclusive evidence as long as parties to the suit and their privies are concerned not only as the matters actually decided but also as to the grounds of its decision when these again come in controversy between the same parties and privies (e.g ordinary judgment between parties in cases of contract,  tort and crime, against a person and not against a thing). This is because public policy does not encourage litigation. The principle – nemo bis vexare debet – forbids a person to be vexed twice over.

Conditions precedent for estoppel in personam to operate:

  • Parties and privies against whom the judgment is tendered must be suing in the same right or same capacity as in the former proceedings.
  • The matter in dispute must be the same in both proceedings.

The judge decides on the question of identity of issues and the test is whether the same evidence would support both actions. This means an action in tort will not estoppel an action in contract arising from the same faults.  The duty of care owed by one driver to another differs from duty of care owed the passengers by the driver. Estoppel   also applies   in Administration   Actions.   Consequently, a party who has acquiesced in the distribution of funds is stopped from a subsequent application to revoke the letters of administration.  However, the fact of a conviction is admissible in civil proceedings.
3.4.5 Foreign Judgment
A party who obtains a foreign judgment in his favour is at liberty to sue again in the domestic courts.    However, there are occasions when a foreign judgment may estoppel a party against whom judgment has been given.   It is ineffectual against a party in whose favour the foreign judgment was given.   The foreign judgment acts as an estoppel, it is conclusive against the defendant and the domestic courts will not go into its merits or sit over it as an appellate court.  But it is impeachable on the ground of:
 Fraud, collusion, or forgery
 Want of jurisdiction in the foreign court
 That it is not a final judgment decided on the merits of the case
 That it is contrary to natural justice
 That it is contrary to the rules if Private International Law.
3.4.6 Judgment in rem and judgment in personam.
The distinction between judgments in rem and in personam is explained in DIKE v NZEKA (1986) 4 NWLR 144.  Here the Court said:
A judgment is said to be in rem when it is an adjudication pronounced upon the status of some  particular  thing  or  subject  matter  by  a  tribunal  having  the  jurisdiction  and competence  to pronounce  on that  status.    Such a judgment is usually and invariably founded in proceedings instituted against   something or subject matter whose status or conditions is to be determined.   It is thus a solemn declaration on the status of some persons or things.  It is therefore binding on all persons in so far as their interests in the status of the person or thing are concerned.  That is why a judgment in rem is binding on the whole world – parties as well as non-parties.
A judgment in personam, on the other hand, is a judgment against a particular person as distinguished from a judgment declaring the status of a particular person or thing.  A judgment in personam is a judgment inter parties.   It creates a personal obligation as it determines the rights of parties inter se to or in the subject – matter in dispute whether it is land or other corporeal property damaged, but does not affect the status of either of the parties to the dispute or the thing in dispute.
3.5 Estoppel by Deed
Estoppel by deed prevents a party to a deed from denying anything recited in that deed if the party has induced another to accept or act under the deed.  Indeed, every recital and description in the deed which is unambiguous, material and conceded to be binding, binds both parties to the deed and anyone claiming through them, but only in an action on the deed.
Hence, parties to a deed and those claiming under them cannot deny the statements of fact contained in the deeds in an action between the actual parties to it and in an action on the deed.   The particular statements of facts must be material and intended to be binding on the parties.  This type of estoppels may be challenged on the ground that:
i. The deed itself is tainted by fraud or illegality  
ii. It was executed under duress
iii. It was executed under a mistake
A recital in a deed acknowledging that one of the parties received some money is merely an evidence of payment, does not create an estoppel.
3.6 Estoppel by Conduct
When one person has either by virtue of an existing court judgment, deed or agreement or by his declaration,  act or omission,  intentionally  caused or permitted another person to believe a thing to be true or to act upon such belief, neither he nor his representative in interest shall be allowed,  in any proceedings  between himself and such person or said person’s  representative  in  interest,  to  deny  the  truth  of  that  thing. Except for the additional phrase “either by virtue of an existing court judgment, deed or agreement or” estoppel means essentially the same as it was prior to 2011.
Whereas Section 151 Evidence act 2004 refers to “declarations, act or omission” Section 169  of  Evidence  Act  2011  has  expanded  this  to  include  court  judgement,  deed  or agreement.
Estoppel by conduct implies that when a person, by his or her conduct induces another to alter his position upon some representation made, the law precludes him or her from denying the fact which he does represent to exist.
Estoppel by conduct arises in a contractual relationship  between parties e. g. between a mortgagee  and  mortgagor,  lessor  and lessee,  bailor  and  bailee,  licensor  and  licensee. Where this relationship exists, estoppel would operate in situation where:
 A mortgagee allows a mortgagor of property to remain in possession and sell in execution to satisfy mortgagor’s judgment debt with knowledge of seizure and intention to sell.
 Lessee or bailee denies title of licensor or bailor respectively.
 Estoppels in pais operates under the following conditions:
 These must be a representation by words (spoken or written) or conduct of some existing fact. In this context, conduct includes silence when there is a duty to speak.   A statement or promise as to the statement  of law, or of intention in future is ineffectual : Kelsen v Imperial Tobacco  Co (1957), Jorden v Money (1854)
  The representation must be clear, precise, and unqualified.  Territorial and Auxiliary Forces v. Nicholas (1949), Canadian and Dominon Sugar Co v Canadian West Indies Steamships Ltd (1947) (Lower v.  Combank  Ltd (1960).
 It must be a representation of fact not Law. Territorial and Auxiliary forces V. Nicholas (1949), Leslie v Shiell (1914).
 The representation must be such that a reasonable man would believe it and act upon it. Freeman v Cooke (1848) However, a “reasonable man” is not credited with the knowledge of the intricacies of modern hire purchase finance (Lowe v Lambank Ltd. 1960).   It suffices that the representation meant the statement to be acted upon or at least have so conducted himself that a reasonable man in the position of the representee would take the representation to be true and believe that it was meant that he should act upon it.
 The representation must have been made with intent that the other party shall act on it.  Mere negligent statement in an atmosphere where there is no duty of care is not sufficient:   Seton v Lafone (1887), Henderson  v Williams (1895).
 The party to whom the representation was made must have acted on it to his or her detriment    Caroline Morayo V Okiode and others (1942); Conpaye Ado V Musa (1938).
 He or she must also have suffered damages, and the representation must have been proximate cause of such damage.
3.7 Estoppel and Bills of Exchange
Estoppel operates on favour of a holder in due course and those who claim through him or her. Consequently:
 The drawer is stopped from denying the existence of the payee of a negotiable instrument and his capacity to endorse.
  The acceptor of a bill of exchange is stopped from denying the existence of the drawer, the genuineness of the drawer’s signature, and his capacity and authority to draw the bill.
 The endorser is stopped from denying the genuineness of the drawer’s signature, and any previous endorsements.
3.8 Standing By
Amancio Santis v Ikosi Industries Ltd & Anor (1942) Merbill v Akiwei (1952)
The conduct of ‘standing by’ is omission to take actions, which ought to have been taken. It arises, for instance, where there is a pending action in Court and a person who has the same interest in the subject matter of litigation as one of the parties, stands by, sees his battle fought by somebody else in the same interest, (and fails, omits or neglects to apply to be made a party in addition to that party). In a situation like that the person is bound by the result and would not be allowed to reopen the case.
The doctrine would not apply to:
I   A decision against a person in his/her personal capacity and the person to be stopped is not privy or cannot be held to be a party.
2.  A person, who during the pendency of an action brought his own action before judgement in the earlier or pending action.
3.9 Innocent Misrepresentation
Generally, no damage is recoverable for an innocent or negligent mis-statement of fact; (DERRY  v  PECK,  (1889)  Negligence  creates  estoppels  where  the  person  alleged  to  be estopped owes a duty of care to the person setting up the estoppel.   (CAMPBELL VISCOUNT CO v GOLD (1961).
Under  the Companies  and Allied Matters  Act, 1990-2004,  directors  may be liable for misstatement  in the prospectus  of a company  unless they had reasonable  grounds  for believing their statements to be true.
Damages may be recovered from a breach of contract or breach of warranty in which there has been an innocent misrepresentation of fact.
This  is based  on  “a  principle  of universal  application  that  if a person  makes  a  false representation  to another  and that other acts upon that false representation,  the person who has made it shall not afterwards be allowed to set up that what he or she said was false and to assert the real truth in place of the falsehood which has so misled the other” – Per Lord McNaughton.
Misrepresentation is a cause of action, but the doctrine of Estoppels is not. Rather it is a rule of evidence.  On how estoppel operates in relation to misinterpretation, see Combe v Combe (1951) 2 KB 215.
NOTE:  There must be in independent cause of action for estoppels to operate in favour of the plaintiff seeking damages, estoppels being part of his or her evidence.
You own a car or other articles; you allow another to treat the car or goods as his or her own; you do not object, whereby a third person is induced to buy the car bona fide:  By your laches and acquiescence, you are stopped from claiming the ownership to the car.
3.10 Equitable Estoppel or Promissory Estoppel.
This is a defensive doctrine, which prevents one party from taking an unfair advantage of another,  when,  through  a  false  language,  or  conduct,  the  person  to  be  estopped  has induced another person to act in a certain way, with the result that the other person has been injured in some way.  The doctrine is founded on the principle of fraud.
It is also called quasi estoppels or promissory estoppels.   It is a shield, not a sword; a defence, not a cause of action.   The principle  of equitable  estoppel  was expressed by Lord  Cairns  in the  important  case  of  HUGHES  v METROPOLITAN  RAILWAY  CO  (1877)  as follows.
“If parties,  who  have  entered  into  definite  and distinct  terms  involving  certain legal results – certain penalties or legal forfeiture – afterwards by their own act or with their own consent enter upon a course of a negotiation, which has the affect of leading  one of the parties  to suppose  that the strict  rights  arising  under  the contract will not be enforced or will be kept in suspense or held in abeyance , the person who otherwise   might have enforced  those rights will not be allowed to enforce them, where it would be inequitable, having regard to the dealings which have thus taken place between the parties.”
In the case, a tenant failed to comply with his landlord’s notice to repair the premises, because he was negotiating for the purchase of these premises.  When the negotiation failed, the landlord ought to forfeit the lease because of the tenant’s failure to comply with the notice. The House of Lords held that there is an implied promise that the notice would not be enforced as long as the negotiations continued.  The tenant was therefore entitled to a reasonable time after their termination to comply with the notice.  
The principle was re-affirmed by Denning in CENTRAL LONDON PROPERTY TRUST LTD v HIGH TREES HOUSE LTD (1947) KB 130 and COMBE v COMBE (1951) 2 KB 215 OR [1951] ALL ER 767 where Denning L.J explained that:
The principle stated in the High Trees Case does not create new causes of action where none existed before.   It only prevents a party from insisting upon his strict legal right, when it would be unjust to allow him or her to enforce them, having regard to the dealing which have taken place between the parties. The principle is that:
Where one party has, by his words or conduct made to the other a promise or assurance which  was  intended  to affect  the legal  relations  between  them and to be acted  upon accordingly, then, once the other party has taken him at his word and acted on it, the one who gave the promise or assurance cannot afterwards be allowed to revert to the previous legal relations as if no such promises or assurance had been made by him, but he must accept  their  legal  relations,   subject  to  the  qualification,   which  he  himself  has  so introduced, even though it is not supported on points of law by any consideration but only by his (or her) word.
Equitable estoppel is not limited to representation of fact.  It extends to:
 Representation of Intention (oral or written)
 Representation by Conduct
 Representation by legal relations
Equitable Estoppel does not bind promisor   ad infinitium;  it endures only until such time as the promisee should  have been  restored  to the  position  he  or she was  immediately before  the representation.
If estoppel is based on conduct, the other would have acted to his detriment. (See Lord Denning: 15 M.L.R. pages 1-10).
If a man by his words or conduct wilfully endeavours to cause another to believe in a certain state of things which the first knows to be false and the second believes in such state of things and acts upon the belief, he who knowingly made the false statement is estopped from averring afterwards that such a state of things does not exist at the time. Again if a man either in express terms or by conduct makes representation to another of the existence of a state of facts, which he intends to be acted upon in a certain way, in the belief of the existence of such a state of facts, to the damage of him who so believes and acts, the first is estopped from denying the existence of that state of facts. Thirdly, if a man whatever his real meaning may be, so conducts himself that a reasonable man would take  his  conduct  to  mean  a  certain  representation   of  facts  and  that  it  was  a  true representation and that the latter was intended to act upon it in a particular way, and he with such belief, does act in such way to his damage, the first is estopped from denying the facts of representation  (See the case of JOE IGA AND OTHERS v EZEKIEL AMAKIRI AND OTHERS (1976)11S.C.1)  especially pages 12 – 13).
Thus an Estoppel is a rule of evidence which precludes a person from denying the truth of some statement formerly made by him or her or the existence of facts  upon  which a judgment against him or her is based.  Estoppel is a shield, not a sword, a defence; not a cause of action. A party who wishes to avail such estoppels, whilst there cannot be cause of action stopped as between a criminal and a civil action, there can be issue estoppels. Estoppel is based on the rule of public policy that there should be an end to all litigations and no one should be sued twice on the same ground(s).

Estoppel is simply a judicial instrument ordered by a court to prohibit an individual from making claims or from taking back his or her original statement. It is a legal means of preventing a party from taking action that will negate some previous action taken. It is a judicial instrument in common law legal frameworks through which a court can prohibit or “estop” an individual from making claims or from taking back his or her original statement; the individual being prosecuted is said to be “estopped.”

Estoppel can prohibit an individual from making specific claims. Estoppel theories are centered around both common law and equity.

For example, a lender and borrower are in court because of an unpaid debt. The lender says that he will pardon 50% of the debt. The judge can, therefore, issue an estoppel on the lender from going back on his word. Hence, he cannot change his mind and only pardon 30% of the existing debt.

Estoppel is a legal means of preventing a party from taking action that will negate some previous action taken.

Estoppel theories are centered around both common law and equity.

The two most common types of estoppel in the U.S. are promissory estoppels and equitable estoppels.

Common Types of Estoppels

When looking at the U.S., two common types of estoppels are the promissory estoppel and the equitable estoppel.

1. Promissory estoppel

The promissory estoppel, which is frequently found in contract law, prevents an individual from changing their mind on a commitment or promise made, even though there is no legal agreement. It argues that an aggrieved person can seek compensation from the offeror or promisor for damages incurred if the damages caused have been the product of the commitment made by the offeror or promisor, which the aggrieved party or receiver had been reliant on before the loss of the promise. The doctrine of promissory estoppel allows a promise to be executed, even if the conditions that constitute a legal contract have not been met.

For promissory estoppel to be legally binding, it has to embody the following elements: a notable promise was made by a promisor to a promisee and the promise resulted in actions being taken by the promisee, the promisee was dependent on the promise that was made, the promisee experienced and incurred noteworthy damages as a result of relying on the promise made to him or her, and if the promisee can only be renumerated through the fulfillment of the promise made to him or her.


2. Equitable estoppel

The equitable estoppel, which is based on the principles of fraud, is a defensive theory that forbids one individual from taking undue advantage of another individual where, by deceptive language or actions, the person to be “estopped” has forced or coerced another individual to behave in a certain manner, which causes the other individual to be injured in one way or another.

The key elements for equitable estoppel include the misrepresentation or coverup of data and facts, the knowledge of the facts, a clear intention to be fraudulent, inducement and reliance, damages, injury has been incurred by the complainant, and proof of culpability or blameworthiness.

Other Types of Estoppel

With reference to the Australian, English, and American laws, the common types of estoppels in civil cases include (but may not be limited to:

1. Laches

Laches are commonly used in situations where an individual being litigated intentionally delays an action, at the expense of their adversary.

2. Estoppel by Record

Estoppel by record commonly rises as an issue and/or cause of action, through which previous judgments passed on certain causes of action or issues in past legal proceedings cannot be relitigated by concerned parties.

3. Estoppel by Deed

Estoppel by deed prohibits an individual who is being litigated from denying the truth of actions carried out or statements made through rules of evidence.


4. Estoppel by silence

Estoppels of silence are used to prevent an individual from making a new statement when they had previously been allowed to do so, and his or her silence placed another individual in a less favorable position.


5. Reliance-based estoppel

Reliance-based estoppel is common in instances where a party relies on the actions or statements given by another party. The estoppel is made against the party that carried out the act or made the statement.

[12/21/2021, 5:43 AM] Nelson Vincent Ayomitunde:

[12/21/2021, 5:44 AM] Nelson Vincent Ayomitunde:

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