Promissory Estoppel

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2012 by Farida Palupi

In the court of law, several legal doctrines are used to make cases less complicated and resolvable. This concept is made up of two sub concepts, namely, estoppel and promissory. The concept of estoppel indicates that any person cannot revert, deny, challenge, or contradict any fact established and accepted as truth in the court of law. This basically implies the fact that any person cannot simply change opinion, decision, fact, testified fact, etc. This principle of estoppel which is used in almost all fields of law, thus prevents a person from contradicting any fact that has been proved to be true in the court of law, either by lawyers, or by the court itself.. There are different kinds of estoppel which are legally followed throughout the world, and are prevalent in most courts of law. Developments and incidences though, may override the established fact and the judge or the jury may change the established fact.

The word promissory determines the fact the estoppel is granted for, or against, a promise. This implies the fact the said estopppel is established upon the basis of a promise. It must be noted that proving a promise, and then activating the promissory estoppel is quite difficult.

Promise, Agreement and Contract

Before we go ahead and observe the promissory estosppel definition, it is necessary to know more about promise, agreement and contract. So here goes...

Promise: In common law, throughout the world, a promise is an assurance to do something, or abstain from doing something, that may be of benefit to either or one parties. A promise can be written or oral, and is usually informal, plus lacks 'consideration'. A promise, in some cases, tends to have a legal backing and recognition by court, especially if it is verifiable by any source or witness. Often, a promise is initiated by one person and consented to by another person.
Agreement: An agreement is a mutual understanding to execute. Just like a promise, a domestic agreement which does not have legal consideration, is not usually legally enforceable. However, an agreement with legal considerations tends to have legal backing and can also be enforced by the court.
Contract: A contract is a legally enforceable agreement and has legal consequences upon breach. In such a case, the entire agreement becomes a bound contract.

Thus, the three concepts, promise, agreement and contract are correlated and, in some cases, progressing steps towards a legally binding contracts. There are however subtle differences in the three. These differences are quite highlight-able as per the presence and absence of consideration and willingness. For more inputs you can also have a look at the glossary of legal terms and meanings.

Concept of Promissory Estoppel

As mentioned above, promissory and estoppel are two terms that are seen in this phenomenon. Promissory indicates a promise, whereas estoppel indicates a preventive doctrine. The doctrine, principally, states that a promise once proved to be a fact, cannot be challenged, questioned or reverted by either parties. It so happens that, in common life, promise of formal nature are made, for example a superior promises an employee a raise, or creditor forgives a part of debt in promise. Here, the key element of consideration is totally absent, however the promise is a legally binding in nature.

One important condition that the court looks for, before enforcing and activating the preventive estoppel, is whether the promisee had any financial interest in the promise, or had relied on the promise to take up any decision. In such cases where there has been an existence of a certain decision taken by relying on the promise, then the court can 'activate' the promissory estoppel. It basically means that during the proceedings, either party cannot deny the existence of a promise once proved.

This doctrine is always related to promises made in the past, however current events and new settlements, can lead to a change in scenario and estoppel may be lifted by the courts.

What is the Lemon Law

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2012 by Farida Palupi

If you have just bought a car (a new car), but the car does not live up to your expectations, i.e. it fails to meet the required or promised quality and performance, then you can apply for a Lemon law. Some of you might also ask what is this law used for and in which country this law is applicable? All your questions will be answered once you read this article further. It gives you all the details regarding the Lemon law, and which country has passed this law.

When you buy a car, not always does it happen that you get all that the manufacturer had promised you; in short, there might be a breach of manufacturer's warranty. It is due to this breach that the manufacturer is the one who is responsible for all the repairs that the car has to undergo. If the consumer fails to receive satisfactory results within a given period of time, the Lemon law is there to help them out. The Washington State Motor Vehicle 'Lemon laws' are the American state laws which helps you, the purchaser of the car, to get a compensation for the unsatisfactory performance of the car. The cars whose owner enjoys the benefit of this law, are called the 'lemon'.

According to this law, the owner can seek redressal through the Lemon Law Administration of Attorney General's Office. The request of arbitration can be sought within 2 ½ years of the original retail delivery date of the 'lemon' or the car. Once you have made the arbitration, you will be given an arbitrator who will decide whether or not your claims and complaints meet the requirements that are present under the law. No fees will be charged. There are certain requirements that you need to fulfill and also certain limitations that you need to keep in mind while filing for an arbitration through the Lemon Law Administration. These rules and regulations can be downloaded from the Lemon law website.

Defects Covered by the Law

There are two types of defects that this law covers; Nonconformity defect and serious safety defect. The former is a defect where the safety of the car is not guaranteed i.e. it becomes unreliable. In the latter case, the car has a defect that becomes life-threatening. The driver finds it difficult to control the car due to this problem and the chances of accident or fire, is high.

There are, however, certain problems which the Lemon law for cars does not cover and they are the problem of the car caused due to sheer neglect, or any changes that has been made to the car after the original retail sale. The law also does not cover any modifications that were requested by you and following which the manufacturer had gone about with it. Consumer requested modifications are not authorized by the manufacturer. Lemon law for used cars or cars taken on lease, is also something that one will not get the benefit of. Thus, when your new car is giving you trouble and you are planning to seek a compensation on the basis of the Lemon laws, make sure that none of the problems are due to the above situations.

Like any other laws, this law too varies from one state to another, hence it's important for you to check the rules and regulations of that state where you are filing for the arbitration. In order to get the best legal advice, it is best that you consult a licensed lawyer about the Lemon laws and he/she will be able to guide you better in this case. They will be ready to give you advice free of cost, unless of course you win the case.