EXAMPLE OF CASE ANALYZED USING ILAC METHOD

The following is a sample of a law case analyzed using the ILAC method:

Answering ILAC Method_Example 1(1)

Issues: 

There are two issues in this case. One is whether the elements of promissory estoppel are fulfilled, and two, whether damages can sought under promissory estoppel.

Law:

There are six main elements of a promissory estoppel. First, there must be proof that one of the contracting parties made a clear promised for legal relationship to exist.  Second, element of responsibility must be fulfilled by the promises reasonably relying on the promise. The third element is reliance where the promiser intends the weaker party to rely on the promise.  Fourth element is intention where it must be proved whether it would be unfair for the promiser to break the promise. Fifth element is detriment where it must be assessed whether the promise will suffer a loss if the promise is nullified. Last element is unconscionability where assessment must be made to know whether it would be unconscionable if the promise went back on their promises. In addition, a when a promissory estoppel is enforced, damages can be sought under s237 of the Competition and Consumer Act (Cth) 2010. Damages can be claimed as a result of misleading conduct according to s4(1) and  s18(1) of CCA 2010; unconscionable conduct as per s23 of the Competition and Consumer Act (Cth) 2010; unfair practice in line s23 of the CCA 2010,  and  s.80 of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic). In this case, the unfair conduct is any that causes imbalance in the rights and obligation of the contracting parties. S243 CCA 2010 outlines the kinds of orders that can court can give to remedy the injured person. Further s.109(1) of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) (‘FTA’) provides to  injunction for unfair trade practices.

Application:

The legal relationship in this case can be proved in terms of non-written promise that Karen’s cases would be considered upon the expiry of her lease, although the written contract states that she should vacate the building on the expiry of the lease. In Ryledar Pty Ltd v Euphoric Pty Ltd (2007), the judges ruled that intention can be contained in a series of communication. The statement was that she will be taken care of upon the expiry of the lease, but the way she will be “taken care of” is not specified, which means there was intention to favour her. As ruled in Cosmopolitan Hotel (Vic) v Crown Melbourne Limited, a promissory that shows intent, although it may deviate from the terms of the main contract, amounts to a promissory estoppel because it was held as assumption for the conduct of the landlord and was reasonable in the circumstance. The court ruled that the statement that the lease would be “looked after” during renewal was a reasonable assumption on the part of the tenant that it would be renewed.  Second, responsibility can be proved because Karen relied on the promise and signed the contract. It appeared to be a condition precedent for Karen to sign the contract. As was decided in Walton Stores (Interstate) Ltd v Maher, the judges argued that there must be element of voluntary promises and the fact that the other party relies on that promise to execute the contract. She is giving her unfair terms so that she can accommodate her brother’s business, which meets the provisions of line s23 of the Competition and Consumer Act (Cth) 2010.  Karen has suffered health problems and is likely to lose business. Lastly, it would not be unconscionable if the Samantha go back to their promise because T+C will not lose anything.  According to s20 of line s23 of the Competition and Consumer Act (Cth) 2010, a person should not engage in any conduct that is unconscionable, failure to which a pecuniary penalty will be imposed. Karen can sue Samantha and claim damages for her health. She has already suffered Asthma attack as a result of stress related to losing her business. In addition, she can seek a court injunction to prevent Samantha from renewing the contract under new terms under s.109(1) of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) (‘FTA’) by a lodging a complaint to VCAT.

Conclusion: 

Therefore, considering that all elements of the promissory estoppel are met in this case except establishment of legal relationship, and following the presents set by the judges in Walton Stores (Interstate) Ltd v Maher, where they argued that there must be element of voluntary promises and the fact that the other party relies on that promise to execute the contract, Karen can use promissory estoppel to force Samantha to honour her statement. Karen can therefore seek the court for award her damages and injunction as a result.

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