Dalhousie Law Journal


Supreme Court of Canada, Sopinka, justice, land, sale, damages, breach, contract, Semelhago, policy


In the 1996 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Semelhago v. Paramadevan, Justice John Sopinka stated that it is no longer appropriate to assume that specific performance will issue as a matter of course to enforce a contract for the sale of land. Before performance will be ordered, it must be proven (and not assumed) that common law damages for breach of contract will not suffice to do justice. In this article, Semel hago and the case law generated in its aftermath will be reviewed, and the policy arguments pertaining to the current law addressed. In short, it will be argued that the Semelhago dictum should be rejected.

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