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    Does it matter whether the representation comes before or after the reliance?
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    If the representation comes after the 'reliance', then what is the 'reliance' upon?
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    I know I should have clarified a bit so I will just explain a bit more.

    Say, for example, a woman who's elderly relative becomes ill and bedridden, gives up her job and home to move in with her and become her full time carer (prior to this she was already her part time carer). The elderly relative doesn't say anything at this point, but the woman, worried about her own future situation sits down with the elderly relative who tells the woman that in no uncertain terms that she will leave her the house in her will. Following from this the house becomes damaged and the woman invests in repairs to the house. A few months later the elderly relative dies and it's revealed that the elderly relative left her estate to someone else.

    Can, the house and job loss be considered a detriment as a result of a reliance based on passive representation ie allowing the woman to quite her job and home, then later expressly stating the house would be left to her? or would it just be the financial investment to repair the house?
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    This comes down to when the reliance is deemed to have taken place.

    It's basic that the reliance must be on the representation, but the line of argument which they are expecting deals with possibility of reliance at separate points in time.

    1) Before the conversation- prior reliance cannot lead to an estoppel- simple.

    2) After the conversation- this is more complex. The carer did not alter her behaviour, and had already taken on the detriment. However, you can (and should) argue that, upon receipt of the patient's assurance, she held off from a course of action which she would otherwise have taken for her own benefit: ie stopping the full time care and getting a job. This one's going to be tricky to argue though- I don't remember any direct authorities with these facts so it's going to have to be an argument on principle. Remember that Equity does not aid a Volunteer!

    3) After investing in the repairs. This could have given rise to a proprietary estoppel, if it was done for the purpose of and in expectation of inheriting the house. However avoid just saying this as if it's the answer- consider that contribution to the value if there was no expectation of inheriting the whole thing could otherwise give rise to a resulting trust in part of the property and no proprietary estoppel over the whole thing- or even give rise to nothing at all. All depends on intentions of the parties here.

    Hope this helps- authorities can be found by reading the relevant chapters in Megarry & Wade- you'll probably find the answer to your problem there as well.
 
 
 
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