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Howe v Gossop [2021] EWHC 637 (Ch)
Episode 222nd September 2021 • Case Updates • Ten Old Square
00:00:00 00:14:37

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Sam Laughton discusses the latest authority on the interface

between the equitable doctrine of proprietary estoppel and the statutory

requirement that agreements for the sale of land must be in signed writing. In

Howe v Gossop, Snowden J considered the question of whether a proprietary

estoppel asserted in defence of a claim of possession of land allegedly

transferred by oral contract can be defeated by the failure to comply with the

requirements of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 s.2 for

a contract for the sale of land. He held that the defendants had not asserted

the estoppel in order to enforce an agreement rendered unenforceable by s.2,

but had argued that the estoppel should be satisfied by an irrevocable licence

in their favour: and thus their defence was not barred by s.2. The judgment

also contains a useful review and discussion of the leading authorities on this