Does the doctrine of contemporaneous exposition apply to a contract where the contract states that the assessment contemplated was the assessment upon which taxes would be imposed in the next year?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Ottawa (City) v. Canadian National Railways, 1924 CanLII 11 (ON CA):

I think that in this case the doctrine of contemporaneous exposition may well be applied. It may be conceded that “assessment” is a word capable of diverse meanings dependent upon its context. Here the parties upon the execution of the agreement acted upon it at once, upon the theory that the assessment contemplated was the assessment upon which taxes would be imposed in the next year, and, they having thus interpreted the agreement at the commencement of the 15 years, it is but right that the same interpretation should be maintained throughout. I do not think that much would be gained by attempting a definition of the word “assessment” and discussing its possible meanings. The actions of the parties under this agreement afford, I think, a safe dictionary to aid in its interpretation. An example of a similar application of this doctrine is found in Chapman v. Bluck (1838), 4 Bing. N.C. 187, where there was an agreement for the letting of land and it was uncertain from the documents whether they constituted an actual present demise or referred to a future demise. The conduct of the parties under this arrangement was held to be admissible to shew its construction. Speaking for myself, I should be inclined to regard the true foundation for the decisions as resting upon estoppel. A person who has assumed a construction of a contract, if this is acquiesced in and acted upon by the other party, will not be allowed to assert the opposite construction of an ambiguous expression when it suits his purpose.

Other Questions


What is the test for interpretation of a commercial contract where the contract states that the contract is not a "contract with respect to the context or factual matrix"? (Ontario, Canada)
What are the factors used to determine whether a party who has not made full disclosure under a contract signed a contract with another party would have signed the contract even if the disclosure had not been made? (Ontario, Canada)
How have courts applied the doctrine of agency in determining a binding contract between a homeowner and his wife? (Ontario, Canada)
What is the current state of the law on liability for breach of contract where a third party has been found to have breached the contract? (Ontario, Canada)
What is the test for a party to a contract where the contract is not binding and the terms of the contract are not binding? (Ontario, Canada)
Does the so-called one year rule apply to a debtor who has not paid for a year? (Ontario, Canada)
Does the doctrine of estoppel apply in circumstances where a homeowner authorized his wife to list their home for sale but does not enter into a binding contract with the purchaser? (Ontario, Canada)
What is the test for assessing the effect of a corporation’s tax on the amount of goods that is taxed on a specific product? (Ontario, Canada)
What is the current state of the law in the United States and Canada on the doctrine of joint prosecution? (Ontario, Canada)
How have the principles of good faith and honest performance of a contract been applied to an employment contract at bar? (Ontario, Canada)
X



Whitelogo nobg 300dpi sm


"The most advanced legal research software ever built."


Trusted by top litigators from across North America.