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    I understand the basic principle of Promissory estoppel, however what I don't get is the "sword and shield" rule.

    If for example I say to someone I can give you a free holiday, but I receive no consideration (money or any kind of benefit). If I then cancel that holiday they can then invoke Promissory estoppel against me and force me to give them that holiday.

    What I don't understand then, is if Promissory estoppel can only be used as a defence and not a claim, where would the person who I have promised the holiday to start their claim?

    Also if I claimed that certain circumstances prevented me from fulfilling that promise (ie. bad weather, floods, sold holiday on for profit) would I still be liable?

    Thanks
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    Firstly, there needs to be a pre-existing legal agreement to bring in promissory estoppel. The original promise had no consideration. Therefore, promissory estoppel cannot come into play. Remember: this area of law is not about agreements without consideration; it is about modification without consideration.

    Secondly, promissory estoppel is only used to say "I don't owe you money" and not "you owe me money". That's the basis behind shield, not a sword. You can only use it to defend people and not to attack them.

    Hope this helps.
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    (Original post by ChrisLegalStud)
    If for example I say to someone I can give you a free holiday, but I receive no consideration (money or any kind of benefit). If I then cancel that holiday they can then invoke Promissory estoppel against me and force me to give them that holiday.
    No they can't.
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    (Original post by Lord Hoffman)
    Secondly, promissory estoppel is only used to say "I don't owe you money" and not "you owe me money". That's the basis behind shield, not a sword. You can only use it to defend people and not to attack them.
    This is a helpful way to think about it. Promissory estoppel is a defense to what would otherwise be your legal obligations. For example, if someone agrees to accept less rent and you act in reliance of that promise (a la High Trees), you cannot use the estoppel right as a cause of action (i.e. you cannot sue them on the basis of the estoppel), but you can use it to shield yourself, for example if the landlord demands the extra money.
 
 
 
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