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Simon Shields, LLB

Advising Self-Representing
Ontario Litigants
Since 2005

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Contracts - Oral - Interpretation

S & J Gareri Trucking Ltd. v. Onyx Corporation (Ont CA, 2016)

Here the Court of Appeal commented on principles applied in the interpretation of oral contracts:
[7] The trial judge applied the correct principles applicable to the interpretation of contracts in general and to oral contracts in particular. He held that when dealing with contracts which are substantially or wholly oral: (i) it is necessary to distill from the words and actions of the parties what they intended: see G.H.L. Fridman, The Law of Contract in Canada, 6th ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2011) at 16; (ii) evidence of the parties’ subjective intentions has no independent place in determining the terms of their bargain: Eli Lilly & Co. v. Novopharm Ltd., 1998 CanLII 791 (SCC), [1998] 2 S.C.R. 129 at para. 54; (iii) the test of what the parties agreed to requires an objective determination; and (iv) the contract must include the requisite elements of offer, acceptance and consideration.


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