Define estoppel and discuss its kinds?

(1) Introduction

Two terms are important for dispensing of justice. These terms are estoppel and res judicats. They differ from each other in many ways. Estoppel prohibits some person from saying anything, which contradicts his/her own previous act, while res judicata prevents some person from raising same assertion in successive actions. Another important point is that estoppel has been discussed as rule of evidence in Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order where as res judicata has been discussed in Civil Procedure Code.

(2) Meaning of Estoppel

When one person has intentionally caused or permitted another person to believe a thing to be true and to act upon such belief and he/she has done it through his/her declaration, act or omission, he/she or his/her representative shall not be allowed to deny truth of that thing in any suit or proceeding between himself/herself and such person or his/her representative. It is called estoppel.

(3) Kinds of estoppel

  • (i) Estoppel by waiver
  • (ii) Estoppel by conduct
  • (iii) Estoppel by judgment
  • (iv) Estoppel by representation
  • (v) Estoppel by matter of record
  • (vi) Promissory estoppel
  • (vii) Acquiescence & estoppel
  • (i) Estoppel by Waiver

If some person abandons or relinquishes his/her non-vested right by express declaration or conduct, he/she shall be prevented from asserting such non-vested right. Such estoppel is called estoppel by waiver.

(ii) Estoppel by Conduct

When some person admits any incident as true and he/she makes such admission through his/her conduct. Attitude, act or character, he/she shall be prohibited from deviating from such admission. In fact, a person shall remain bound to some fact when he/she expressly or impliedly causes to believe that such fact is true. This estoppel is called estoppel by conduct.

(iii) Estoppel by Judgment

If court has passed judgment about some dispute between parties after complete hearing of both parties, parties or their representatives shall remain bound to such judgment and no litigation shall be instituted in future about the same dispute between these parties or their representatives. In English law, it is called estoppel by judgment while it is called res-judicata under Civil Procedure Code.

(iv) Estoppel By Representation

When representation is by statement or by conduct and it purports to affirm, deny or describe any existing fact, circumstance or thing or any past event or it relates to any existing fact, circumstance or thing or any past event, such representation amounts to estoppel and this estoppel is called estoppel hy representation.

(v) Estoppel by Matter Of Record

Estoppel by matter of record is, in fact, another name of estoppel by judgment or res-judicata. If some cause has been once tried between parties, then litigation about this cause should be concluded for ever between these parties. This basic principle, which works not only behind estoppel by matter of record, but also behind res judicata or estoppel by judgment.

(vi) Promissory Estoppel

If some party has made clear promise to another party through his/her words or conduct and when such promise is intended to create legal relation or effect legal relationship, which is to arise in future, and maker of such promise knows or intends that such promise would be acted upon by this another party, then such promise can be binding on this maker and this maker cannot resale from it. This estoppel is called promissory estoppel.

(vii) Acquiescence & Estoppel

When some person gives a legal warning to another person and this warning is based on some clearly asserted facts or legal principle, but this other person does not respond within reasonable period of time, then this another person is generally considered to have lost legal right to assert the contrary.

(4) Conclusion

To conclude, it can be stated that principle of equity and good conscious works behind doctrine of estoppel, and object of estoppel is to secure justice, promote honesty and good faith, prevent fraud, and prevent party from approbating and reprobating at the same time.

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