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Hobbs v Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Co. (1889), 29 SCR 450


K for purchase of land. Receipt said land without reservation. D says that T(who sold land) didn’t convey minerals


Due to the alleged mistake, was there a contract at all?


Mistake by one party will not suffice to invalidate a K – reasonableness or carelessness doesn’t affect the K


When both parties to a contract are mistaken as to an essential element of the contract, the Court will attempt to find a reasonable interpretation from the context of the agreement before it will void it.

Test: regarding if K is void by mistake, objective - What would a reasonable person in Hobbs’ position think the terms mean? (parties’ own understanding and intention irrelevant).

The parties knew the terms of the contract, it was expressed in unambiguous language


The alleged mistake was unreasonable and careless – it cannot be said to be unconscionable to enforce specific performance

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