Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Promises in law

received a 99-year lease of the property, rather than outright ownership or funds totalling equivalent to the value of the property. Furthermore, Section 3.3aii states that ‘ the Defendant pay compensation to the value of detriment sustained by the Claimant ’. By this definition, it could be just as easily argued that Aparna should only reimburse Freya for the £5000 spent on renovations, as that was the total actual detriment incurred. Furthermore, because Freya had lived free-of- charge on the farm for 7 years, potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds on rent, it could be argued that this sum far outweighs the total value of potential income lost in that same period. Thus, this outcome is highly unlikely and can reasonably be ruled out as a possibility. All things considered, the most likely outcome would instead be a combination of Section 3.3d ( ‘ The Defendant grant a lease of land to the Claimant ’ ) and 3.3e ( ‘ The Defendant subdivide land ’ ), with Freya being awarded a 99-year lease to the portion of the land on which the cottage is situated, as well as a percentage of the profits of the farming business. Firstly, it is common in estoppel cases such as this for a lease to the land to be granted, with Yaxley v Gotts [2000] being a prime example. This is a fair compromise, as it accounts for the c laimant’s detriment , while also ensuring that the compensation does not exceed the initial financial damage (because of price appreciation and inflation, this is highly likely if property is directly transferred). Furthermore, this is certainly the most likely outcome of this claim, as it is in line with legal precedent from the last two decades. Thus, I believe that it is likely that the claimant would be awarded a 99-year lease to the area of the farm containing the cottage, which she had lived in for the previous 7 years. Moreover, Freya would likely also receive a portion of the profits from the farming business: this is likely because Freya refused a university offer and various advertising deals as she was counting on the income from the farming business to fund her lifestyle. Thus, since this was at the core of Aparna’s assurance to her, it would be only just that she receive a modest percentage of these profits in addition to the cottage land. Furthermore, this follows the precedent set by various other cases of this genre, such as Anaghara v Anaghara [2020] in which the claimant was awarded a percentage interest in the property.


Overall, this case is one that revolves around one core theme: faith. Freya had put her faith in her aunt, Aparna, and it had been broken brutally, resulting in Freya standing to lose everything. Thus, it is only just that Aparna be punished for this, and for Freya to get what was rightfully promised to her. Indeed, it is highly noteworthy that our society has such a tool for justice, which allows oath-breakers to be punished and victims compensated simultaneously, in such an efficient manner. These laws (such as the 2023 Estoppel Act) prevent exploitation and form the fine line demarcating our society from one of distrust, lies and chaos.


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