Dalhousie Law Journal


C. S. Barnett


Contractual conditions precedent, unilateral waiver, correctness, trilogy of judgments


Barnett v. Harrison' concerned the correctness of a trilogy of judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada which have stood for the basic proposition of contract law that a condition precedent expressed in a contract may not be waived unilaterally, notwithstanding that the condition was inserted and intended for the sole benefit of the party seeking to waive it unless the contract expressly provides such a power to waive. In the initial and leading case, Turney v. Zhilka, a contract for the purchase and sale of land was made conditional upon the property being "annexed to the village of Streetsville and a plan is approved by the Village Council for subdivision." Spence J., then sitting in the High Court of Ontario, found this condition was one introduced "for the sole benefit of the purchaser and that he could waive it".

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