Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The parol evidence rule, at first glance, seems to be such a candidate for many reasons. The parol evidence rule has confused" and dissatisfied legal scholars for a long time; for example, Professor Wigmore condemned the rule as "the most discouraging subject in the whole field of evidence."' Bringing the rule within estoppel's domain could simplify the application of the rule,' and legal scholars should appreciate anything that could clarify and rationalize its application. Furthermore, that promissory estoppel already has made substantial incursions into the province of the Statute of Frauds may portend a similar role for promissory estoppel in the parol evidence context. Many similarities exist between the Statute and the rule" and many of the same arguments that justify the use of estoppel to circumvent the Statutes are equally applicable to justify the use of estoppel to bypass the parol evidence rule. Few cases to date have explored the possible interaction between promissory estoppel and the parol evidence rule. This Article attempts to explain why so few cases have explored this interaction, and discusses both the likelihood and the desirability of a significant intrusion by promissory estoppel into the parol evidence rule's domain. First, however, this Article necessarily focuses upon the parol evidence rule itself, the evolution of the promissory estoppel doctrine in general, and the doctrine's development as a device for circumventing the strictures of the Statute of Frauds.

Included in

Evidence Commons