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Report No. 108

3.2. United States.-

In the United States the law is stated as follows:

Restatement:1 A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance of a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee, and which does induce such action or forbearance, is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. American2 Jurisprudence: There is considerable dispute as to the application of estoppel with respect to the State. While it is said that equitable estoppel will be invoked against the State when justified by the facts, clearly the doctrine of estoppel should not be lightly invoked against the State.

Generally State is not subject to an estoppel to the same extent as is an individual, or a private corporation. Otherwise it might be rendered helpless to assert its powers in government. Therefore, as a general rule the doctrine of estoppel will not be applied against the State in its governmental, public or sovereign capacity. An exception, however, arises in the application of estoppel to the State when it is necessary to prevent fraud or manifest injustice.

1. Article 90, American Law Institute's Restatement of the Law of Contracts.

2. Vol. 28, p. 783, para. 123.

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