Waltons Stores Ltd. Vs Maher |Case Brief |Explained!

case brief, case summary


The case Waltons Stores Ltd. V Maher is run in the Australia High Court in 1988.

According to this case,  after the discussions with Maher, Walton decided to take Maher’s land on lease for opening a store. Owing to this, Walton and Maher decided to break down the existing building and create a new one for opening a Waltons store. The agreement was reached on terms and rent.

However, when 40% of work done was completed on that land Maher decided to break the agreement. In this regard, the Australian high court said –  ” I will let you know if there is any problem” which is not acceptance – Reselect move doctrine,  as Maher is denying to pay the damages to the Walton.


photo from the guardian.com


According to them, Maher does not know that the contract is exchanged and broken. However, it said that the exchange was a formality. Moreover, The promissory estoppel is extended as a promise to future conduct.

There is no reason in principle why it cannot apply to preclude departure from representation that representor will or will not enforce a non-contractual right.

  For a non-contractual promise to be enforceable directly-

(a) Promisor must make the promise

(b) Promisor must create or encourage an assumption that contract will come into existence/ promise will be performed

(c)   Promisee must rely on this to the detriment

(d) must be unconscionable, having regard to the promisor’s conduct, for the promisor to be free to ignore it.

As a consequence, promissory estoppel in Australia may be used as both a ‘sword and a shield’


According to Justice Brennan, Walton assumed that a particular legal relationship existed between the parties. Also, Maher is motivated by this assumption of  Walton.

Moreover, the remedy of promissory estoppel should not go further than that necessary to prevent unconscionable conduct.


Dismissed the appeal


Dismissed the appeal

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