What Is Promissory Estoppel?


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you answered
Promissory estoppel is a rule in common law, it mainly expresses the idea that one party cannot change or act against his/her promise.

The definition of promissory estoppel is that: Promissory estoppel is the doctrine which prevents a party from breaking a promise that was not supported by consideration if: This conduct is unconscionable; The other party believed the promise and will suffer a significant loss.

Promissory estoppel is established by Lord Denning in a well-known case: the high tree case in 1947. You can find further information about the high tree case yourself in the internet, I'm here just telling you the elements of promissory estoppel:
1.the promise was clear and definite.
2.the promisee justifiably relied on the promise.
3.the promisee suffered a significant loss on the basis of the promise.
4.enforcing the promise will serve the best interests of justice.

So maybe we can conclude from the four elements that: the soul of promissory estoppel is actually "my word is my bond".
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Anonymous answered
Pretty much, if any reasonable person would say "dang, that's really messed up" when you fail to uphold your promise, promissory estoppel can force you to uphold it.

Say you can't afford to continue college anymore.  The college offers you your next semester's textbooks for free. You then decide you can afford it after all with the free textbooks, and stay.  The principle of promissory estoppel means they have to uphold that promise, because if they don't, you will be unable to pass the classes.  You relied on the promise, and if the promised free textbooks are not there you will be harmed quite severely.

However, they will only be forced to uphold the promise if you are actually screwed over by them failing to uphold it. If you win the lottery before textbook buying time, and can afford the textbooks after all, they are free to demand payment for them, because the promise was not a contract.

Estoppel exists to prevent an injustice.  If you say "that's just not right..." and the court agrees, the one who promised will be forced to uphold the promise to prevent the injustice.
you Profile
you answered
This is a very simple example for you to understand what promissory estoppel is, and it may happen in our daily life:

You go to a store and see a sign in the window telling you that the clocks in the store are sold at the price of $20, you like the clock very much and you decide to buy one, but you don't have money in your pocket, so you talk to the shopkeeper telling him that you will go and sell your own watch and return to buy the clock. You don't discuss the price of the clock with the shopkeeper and he does not either, he just promises you that he will deal with you as he deals all his customers when you come back, you believe in him and go to sell your watch ,you find someone and sell your watch at a price of $20, but in fact ,it is actually worth $40, but you are willing to buy the clock and you can't wait any moment.

You come back to the store, to your surprise ,the sign in the widow has been changed ,it says the clock is $30 now, and the shopkeeper tells you that he has changed the price.

So under that circumstances, promissory estoppel will be applied to in this example.

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