CENTRAL LONDON PROPERTY TRUST V HIGH TREES HOUSE LTD[6.1200]Central London Property Trust v High Trees House Ltd KB 130In 1939 Central London Property Trust (the landlord) leased a block of ﬂats to High Trees House (the tenant)for 99 years at an annual rental of £2500. When in 1940 the tenant was unable to sub-lease many of the ﬂatsdue to war-time conditions in London, the landlord agreed to reduce the annual rental by half but withoutstating the duration of this agreement. Once the war ended in 1945 and the ﬂats were all let again, the landlordIn theHighTreescase,Denning Jsought to tap aslender stream ofauthority whichhad ﬂowed inequity since thejudgment ofLord Cairns in1877 inHughesv MetropolitanRailway. SeddonNC andEllinghausMP,Cheshire andFifoot’s Law ofcontract(9th ed,LexisNexis)p 90.Business and the Law236Andrew, Terry, and Giugni Des. <i>Business & the Law</i>, Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Pty Limited, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central,.Created from wsudt on 2019-09-25 19:05:19.Copyright © 2016. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Pty Limited. All rights reserved.
brought legal action to establish that the previous rental should be reinstated. The landlord was successful.Although there was no claim for the full rental during the war-time period, Lord Denning took the opportunityto state that the landlord would have been estopped (or precluded) from going back on the promise to acceptthe lower rental during those years despite the absence of any consideration provided by the tenant. In hisview, the rules of equity prevented the landlord going back on his promise and enforcing the original contractterms because it would be “unjust to allow him to enforce them having regard to the dealings which havetaken place between the parties”.[6.1210]This principle was not authoritatively accepted in Australia until the decision ofthe High Court inLegione v Hateley HCA 11. At this time, the circumstances inwhich the doctrine of promissory estoppel applied were where:•There is a preexisting contractual relationship between the parties.•One party to that relationship (the promisor) voluntarily makes a clear, precise,unequivocal and unambiguous promise to the other party (the promisee) that strictperformance of that person’s obligations under the legal relationship will not be insistedupon.•The promise is made with the knowledge and intention that it would be acted on by thepromisee.•The promisee acts on the promise and suffers a detriment through altering their positionin reliance on the promise; and•It would be unjust or inequitable to allow the promisor to resile from (go back on) thepromise.In these circumstances the promisee could defend a breach of contract action brought by apromisor who had gone back on their promise and who was suing under the originalcontract terms.
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