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Central London Property Trust v High Trees House [1947] KB 130

Contract Law – Promissory Estoppel

Central London Property Trust v High Trees House [1947] KB 130 is a key case within the contract law degree module for university LLB degree courses. This is a key case concerning promissory estoppel in UK contract law.

Facts:

In this case the defendant, High Trees House, leased a block of flats from the claimant Central London Property Trust. Due to World War 2 the property was occupied at a lesser rate than normal so both parties subsequently agreed to half the rental rate. The agreement did not expressly state the length of time it was for.

After the war the flats returned to full occupancy. Central London Property Trust then claimed for the full original rental cost from the defendant.

Issue:

Was there liability for the full rental rate from the defendant?

Held:

Upon examination of previous case law, notably; Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co (1877) 2 App Cas 439, it was decided that a promise actioned or expressed cannot be contradicted in future within a legally binding agreement.

Lord Denning stated that logically a promise to accept a smaller sum than a larger one would be accepted by the other party. So, despite a lack of consideration the agreement is legally binding.

This case established the doctrine of promissory estoppel in UK Contract Law.

OSCOLA reference this article/case: Lawlessons, ‘Central London Property Trust v High Trees House [1947] KB 130 ‘ (LawLessons, 11th August 2021) <https://lawlessons.co.uk/central-london-property-trust-v-high-trees-house-1947-kb-130> accessed 8th July 2022

Published inPromissory Estoppel
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