Toronto law student Neil Wilson’s essay, which concludes that courts may be increasingly willing to enforce oral agreements for the sale of land, has won a $3,000 essay contest.
Part Performance: An Invaluable Tool in the Practice of Real Estate Law was the winning entry in the 2010 TitlePlus Essay contest sponsored by Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO). Wilson’s essay examines the legal doctrine that provides that an oral agreement for the sale of land, which would otherwise be unenforceable, may be enforced if steps have been taken towards its performance.
Wilson was awarded his prize, which includes a cash award of $3,000, at the Gala Evening of the Ontario Bar Association Real Property Section in Toronto.
After reviewing the history of the doctrine and the recent “diverging” Canadian case law on when an oral contract to sell land may be enforced because it has been partially performed, Wilson concludes that “the current lack of certainty leaves the issue open to arguments on both sides, and accordingly an appreciation of the doctrine of part performance will be invaluable to both vendors’ and purchasers’ counsel.”
Wilson has just finished his third year at Osgoode Hall Law School and will be clerking for Justice Russel W. Zinn at the Federal Court during his articling term.