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Dawson v. Helicopter Exploration, [1955] S.C.R. 868


P negotiation w/ D through mail about staking mineral deposits. D made proposition, P said it was fair. D had say I agree. D wrote later saying couldn’t get helicopter and repudiated contract. But later D took someone else to site and staked minerals for themselves


Did the correspondence amount to a binding contract?


Courts should treat offers as calling for bilateral rather than unilateral action when the language can be fairly construed, in order that the transaction shall have such business efficacy as both parties must have intended that at all events it should have.

Unilateral contract can be revoked at any time before performance (acceptance).

When an offeror must participate in the offer, and the performance of the contract is under the control of the offeror, it will not be a unilateral contract, it will be a bilateral contract


It was implied that D would participate in their own proposal – so it is not unilateral.
While silence may be evidence of repudiation, its weight must depend upon the circumstances.
It remained the duty of D having retained a helicopter, to take P into the area


Was bilateral contract that D was in breach of


  1. Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum 32

    Majority: Unilateral – Acceptance- Contract
    Minority: Bilateral – No Acceptance – No Contract

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