Under the Debt East, we will examine how the promise offers the possibility of making promises binding on the basis of trust. The doctrine of the EP is a doctrine just like the specific performance. Like all remedies in the law of convenience, it is discretionary – unlike customary law, for example, damages for infringement. This is clearly the kind of case that can raise all the questions of reflection, opplage, economic constraint – if you are faced with a problem of this type, not only choose one aspect of it, but pay attention to the alternatives. In 1964, the ship Melbourne collided with the Voyager spacecraft and sank it while they were participating in combat exercises. The general view was that, in such circumstances, the Commonwealth was not required to exercise due diligence and was therefore not responsible (Groves` defence). In 1984, there were some doubts about this and Verwayen, a member of the RAN, filed an action for damages. The Commonwealth acknowledged responsibility, did not plead groves or statute of limitations and said it was not its policy to exploit both. In 1986, this policy changed and the Commonwealth tried to use both. V said they had waived their right to this defence. The matter before the High Court was dealt with on the basis of Estoppel. This indicates that when we talk about this form of feasible estoppel, we have really gone beyond the limits of the more formal views of the Treaty. As the judge said, this case clearly defends the thesis that Estoppel can only be used as a defense – a shield, but not a sword.
The normal scenario is that the promisor will file a complaint and the promised will make the promise that is the basis of estoppel as a defense. In other words, PE allows a promise (which seems denising) to act as a restriction of legal rights. But such a promise, it is said, cannot serve as a basis for defining legal rights. It can serve as a basis for a defense, but not as a basis for autonomous action. Now seen as part of a more general just estoppel. It involves doing something that a person thinks has rights in or within the country. Build a building or improve the land. The beneficial owner may be prevented from denying the right or title of which the other has supposedly existed. People like Atiyah, who emphasize trust, see this as an important part of their argument. Estoppel is a relatively new development. We will first see how the default view evolved – through cases like Hughes (1877) – High Trees (1947) – Legione (1983).
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