Before granting a CT, court should consider if a lesser equitable remedy is appropriate.
In this case there were difficulties with access to the property, effect on third parties.
R was awarded damages based on the value of the promised lot.
DONIS V DONIS – 2007
Is a unanimous decision of Victorian Court of Appeal.
Victor and Rosa Donis owned 40 acres of land on outskirts of Melbourne.
already two houses on the block.
They told Suzie that their son and she would be RP’s
of one of the properties.
Suzie didn’t like the house or area, wanted to be closer to her
parents, but the promises of the Donis’ swayed her.
She also agreed to start a family,
quitting her teaching job.
The marriage broke down, Donis’ told her to go, she didn’t,
and one night they cleaned the house out.
Sold it to a property developer for $2+million!
She sued, got $600,000 from SC of Vic, but parent’s appealed, arguing it was an
excessive payout based on her detriment and reliance.
Nettle J said that equitable estoppel gives you whatever relief is necessary to take away
the detriment (reliance based).
BUT, took the HC in Giumelli where the expectation
created by D’s conduct relates to an interest in property.
Prima facie P is entitles to have the promise made good
Doesn’t have to be proportionality between the detrimental reliance and the interest
HOWEVER, there may be cases where the expectation is unreasonable and is out of
ALL proportion to the detriment!
Take into account the number of considerations, such as cost of sale, mortgage
repayments, interest due after separation.
Then have to ask if final sum is grossly
That is, if expectation is vague, then probably unreasonable to get
the final sum.
In this case, her expectation wasn’t extravagant (vague).
The relationship between proprietary estoppel and CTs is quite close, but came about at
different times, and in some cases will result in same outcome.
BUT, PE seems to be broader.
Anything that amounts to detrimental reliance, even
without benefit flowing back to promise giver, can result in r