For example in the case in which the doctrine

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For example, in the case in which the doctrine originated, Central London Property Trust v High Trees House Ltd [1947] KB 130, the plaintiffs had agreed to reduce the rent that the defendants were paying on a block of flats in London — because the German bombing during the war was making it difficult to find tenants to whom they could be sub-let. Unfortunately the defendants provided no additional consideration for the plaintiff’s promise to accept the reduced rent. In 1945, when the situation had returned to normal, the plaintiffs sued for reinstitution of the full original rent. Their action succeeded but the court was careful to point out that, if they had sued for the full rent backdated to 1940 (when the reduced rent agreement had come into force) they would have failed. They would have been estopped from enforcing their strict legal right to demand the full rent because of their promise to accept the lesser sum, because of the defendant’s subsequent actions in reliance on that promise and because of the detriment that the defendants would suffer if that promise was arbitrarily and retrospectively retracted without notice.
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© Stephen Graw 2012 4.1 Contents of a Contract What in a contract is enforceable? All ‘terms’ of a contract are enforceable. (In this sense the word ‘terms’ includes any provision which requires either party to perform some agreed obligation.) The problem then is: how do you determine whether something that was said during the negotiations (whether in writing, orally or otherwise) has become a term of the contract and, therefore, part of the contractual obligation , or whether it has no contractual significance at all. The difference is to be found in the parties’ contractual intention. If they intended what they had said or done to be promissory it will be a term; if not, it will not be. If it is not a term it is not enforceable. Types of terms There are two types of term — express terms and implied terms. 4.1.1 Express Terms ‘Express terms’ are those that result from any express statements or promises that the parties make to one another during their negotiations. Express terms can occur in writing. This will obviously be a major source of the contracts terms when the parties’ agreement is formally written down. They can also be incorporated from some other source of writing. For example, if there is a large sign in a laundry when you drop your clothes off to be laundered and if it says that the laundry will not be responsible if your clothes are lost or damaged that will become a term of the contract. Therefore, if your clothes are lost or damaged while they are being cleaned, you will not be able to recover from the owners of the laundry — because it is a term of the contract (to which you have agreed) that you will not be able to recover from them.
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