Estoppels can be raised against public authorities but cannot be enforced where that would require the public authority to act ultra vires or fetter a statutory discretion. There have been attempts to create a public law doctrine of substantive legitimate expectations to address this remedial gap; indeed, such a doctrine is now well-established in the UK. However, it is not appropriate to the constitutional setting in Australia. This need not mean that no remedy is available where an individual relies to his or her detriment on a misrepresentation made by a public authority. This article argues that equity retains a capacity to provide compensation to remedy an estoppel, even where parties are not in a fiduciary relationship and in the absence of fraud.
Public Law and Legal Theory
Date of this Version
Greg Weeks, "Estoppel and Public Authorities: Examining the Case for an Equitable Remedy" (December 2010). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2010. Working Paper 70.