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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Estoppel

Meaning of Estoppel

A rule of evidence , by which a part} is precluded from denying the existence o: some facts which he had previously, either by words or conduct , asserted as true. The principle may be stated as follows: If A, b his words or conduct, induces B to believe that a certain state of things exists; and B, in that belief , acts in a way in which he would not have acted unless he so believed, and is thereby prejudiced, then A cannot, in anj subsequent proceeding between himself anc B, or anyone claiming under B, be heard tc deny that that state of things existed. Estoppels have been divided into t.r.e. E categories: 1. Estoppel of record : A judgment or the determination of a prior legal proceeding between the same parties o: between parties from whom the present litigants claim , on the same issues as are raised in the subsequent proceedings constitutes an estoppel by record. Different from res judicata in that to constitute res judicata the latter action must be founded on the same cause of action . 2. Estoppel by deed or specialty : Based on the theory that no man can be allowed to dispute his own solemn deed. The grantor of a deed of land is estopped from disputing the title of his grantee . 3. Estoppel by conduct or in pais: where a party by his conduct wilfully leads another to believe in the existence of certain things and that other , in such belief, alters his position to his detriment , then the former is estopped from denying the exist -ence of the facts or things that his conduct represented as existing. Estoppel can also arise by acquiescence , as when A, by his silence, lets a stranger commence building on A’s land on the mistaken belief, on the part of the stranger, that the lands belong to him, and A, knowing of his mistaken belief, abstains from setting him right and leaves him to persevere in his error. A will not be allowed afterwards to assert his title to the land. He will be estopped in equity from doing so. The doctrine of Estoppel, being only an evidentiary rule, cannot give rise to a cause of action and sometimes it is said that this doctrine cannot be used as a sword but only as a shield. United States v Lvnah, 188 U.S. 445, 23 S. Ct. 349. 47 L. Ed. 539.

Estoppel Alternative Definition

The preclusion of a person from asserting a fact by previous conduct, inconsistent therewith, on his own part, or the part of those under whom he claims, or by a solemn establishment, which he cannot be allowed to call in question. A preclusion, in law, which prevents a man from alleging or denying a fact, in consequence of his own previous act, allegation, or denial of a contrary tenor. Steph. PI. 239. “Estoppe cometh of the French word estoupe, from whence the English word ‘stopped,’ and it is called an ‘estoppel’ or ‘conclusion’ because a man’s own act or acceptance stoppeth his mouth to allege or plead the truth.” Co. Litt. 352a. Estoppel is either by record, by deed, or by facts in pais.
(1) Estoppel by record is the preclusion of one to deny that which either appears by the roll of a legislature, or has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction. See “Former Adjudication.”
(2) Estoppel by deed is the preclusion of one to deny that which he has asserted by an agreement or conveyance under seal. See 7 Conn. 214; 13 Pick. (Mass.) 670; 62 111. 344; 18 Johns. (N. Y.) 492.
(3) Estoppel by facts in pais, commonly called “estoppel in pais,” is the preclusion of one to deny that which, by his conduct, he may have induced another to believe and act on to his prejudice. 129 111. 657; 60 Minn. 331; 22 N. J. Law, 619; 46 Ohio St. 255. In the early common law, estoppel in pais was practically unrecognized (27 Conn. 282), the present doctrine being of equitable creation.”

Estoppel Legal Definition

A person’s own act. or acceptance of facts. which preclude later claims to the contrary.

Synonyms of Estoppel


  • ban
  • bar
  • bar to an allegation
  • barrier
  • barring
  • blockage
  • disallowance
  • forbiddance
  • hindrance
  • impediment
  • inhibition
  • legal restraint
  • obstruction
  • preclusion
  • preclusion by act
  • preclusion by conduct
  • prohibition
  • restraint
  • restriction Associated Concepts: agency by estoppel
  • collateral estoppel
  • equitable estoppel
  • estoppel by concealment
  • estoppel by conduct
  • estoppel by deed
  • estoppel byjudgment
  • estoppel by laches
  • estoppel by matter in pais
  • estoppel by matter of accord
  • estoppel by recital
  • estoppel by record
  • estoppel by silence
  • estoppel by suppression
  • estoppel by verdict
  • estoppel letter
  • judicial estoppel
  • partnership by estoppel
  • ratification
  • stare decisis
  • waiverforeign phrases: Nemo contra factum suum venire potest
  • No man can contradict his own act or deed
  • Unne doit prise advantage de son tort demesne
  • One ought not to take advantage of his own wrong

Related Entries of Estoppel in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Estoppel in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Estoppel in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Estoppel in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Estoppel in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Agency, Agent, Authority, Equitable Estoppel, Mutuality Of Estoppel, Promissory Estoppel, Scrivener’s Rule, Surrender.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Estoppel in the Dictionary Estoppel in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Estoppel
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Related topics Estoppel in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Estoppel is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

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Estoppel in the United States

Estoppel in Connecticut

Is a judicial remedy by which a party may be precluded by his own act or omission from asserting a right to which it otherwise would have been entitled. In other words, estoppel (see in the U.S. legal system) is a means of preventing a party from asserting a legal claim or defense which is contrary or inconsistent with its prior action or conduct. Heffernan v. iCareManagement, Inc. , 356 F. Supp. 2d 141 (2005). See estoppel by Deed in this Legal Dictionary and estoppel in Pais also in this Dictionary

English Legal System: Estoppel

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Estoppel :

(from Norman French estouper, to stop up)

A rule of evidence or a rule of law that prevents a person from denying the truth of a statement he has made or from denying facts that he has alleged to exist, The denial must have been acted upon (probably to his disadvantage) by the person who wishes to take advantage of the estoppel or his position must have been altered as a result.

There are several varieties of estoppel. Estoppel by conduct (or in pais) arises when the party estopped has made a statement or has led the other party to believe in a certain fact. Estoppel by deed prevents a person who has executed a deed from saying that the facts stated in the deed are not true. Estoppel by record (or per rem judicatam) prevents a person from reopening questions that are *res judicata (i.e. that have been determined against him in a previous legal proceeding).

See also issue estoppel.

There are two forms of equitable estoppel – promissory and proprietary. The doctrine of promissory estoppel applies when one party to a contract promises the other (by words or conduct) that he will not enforce his rights under the contract in whole or in part. Provided that the other party has acted in reliance on that promise, It will, though unsupported by consideration, bind the person making it: he will not be allowed subsequently to sue on the contract. When applicable, the doctrine thus modifies the common-law rules relating to *accord and satisfactio Under the doctrine of proprietary estoppel, the courts can grant a discretionary remedy in Circumstances where an owner of land has implicitly or explicitly led another to act detrimentally in the belief that rights in or over land would be acquired. The remedy may take the form of the grant of a *fee simple in the property at one extreme or the grant of a short-term occupational *licence at the other.

Meaning of Estoppel in the U.S. Legal System

Definition of Estoppel published by the National Association for Court Management: A person’s own act, or acceptance of facts, which preclude his or her later making claims to the contrary.

Concept of Estoppel in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Estoppel: The prevention of one from asserting a legal right because of prior actions inconsistent with the assertion.

Estoppel is a legal doctrine that prevents a person from adopting a position, action, or attitude, asserting a fact or a right, or prevents one from denying a fact.

Concept of Estoppel in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Estoppel: The prevention of one from asserting a legal right because of prior actions inconsistent with the assertion.

Estoppel is a legal doctrine that prevents a person from adopting a position, action, or attitude, asserting a fact or a right, or prevents one from denying a fact.

Estoppel in Maritime Law

Note: There is more information on maritime/admiralty law here.

The following is a definition of Estoppel, produced by Tetley, in the context of admiralty law: Estoppel is a common law bar to denying, in some cases, a fact which a party has already acknowledged, e.g., the issuer of a clean bill of lading (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary) is estopped from contradicting it as against a third party who has relied on it. (Tetley, M.C.C., 4 Ed., 2008 at pp. 668-681; Tetley, Int’l. M. & A. L., 2003 at p. 75.) “Fins de non-recevoir”, or “irrecevabilité” (“inadmissibility”), is not the civil law equivalent of estoppel, but is a generic term referring to various exceptions to rights or procedures that prevent a claim or defence. (National Bank of Canada v. Soucisse, [1981] 2 S.C.R. 339 at p. 360).

Estoppel in Admiralty Law

For information on estoppel in this context, see the entry on estoppel in the maritime law encyclopedia.



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