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Construction Law Reporter


[2022] UKSC 27, Supreme Court, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Leggatt, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose, 19 October 2022

Proprietary estoppel – Extent of remedy – Whether to enforce promise or protect against detriment

The principal issue in dispute concerned the remedies available in a case of proprietary estoppel. The case concerned a dispute in relation to a family-run farm. One son had worked for his parents for many years at a low wage having been promised by his parents that he would inherit a substantial part of the farm. After a number of years the relationship between the parties broke down and the parents excluded their son from their will. The son brought an action against his parents in which he alleged that he was entitled to a share in the farm or its monetary equivalent on the ground of proprietary estoppel. In the lower courts it was held that the son had satisfied the conditions for a proprietary estoppel claim and the issue before the Supreme Court was the basis on which the son was entitled to a remedy. The Supreme Court divided 3–2 on this issue.

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