Noble v Alley

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Noble v Alley
Supreme Court of Canada
Hearing: June 13, 16, 1950
Judgment: November 20, 1950
Full case name Noble and Wolf v Alley et al.
Citations [1951] S.C.R. 64
Court Membership
Chief Justice: Thibaudeau Rinfret
Puisne Justices: Patrick Kerwin, Robert Taschereau, Ivan Rand, Roy Kellock, James Wilfred Estey, Charles Holland Locke, John Robert Cartwright, Gerald Fauteux
Reasons given
Plurality Rand J., joined by Kellock and Fauteux JJ.
Concurrence Kerwin J., joined by Taschereau J.
Concurrence Estey J.
Dissent Locke J.
Rinfret C.J. and Cartwright J. took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Noble v Alley [1951] S.C.R. 64 is a famous Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court struck down a restrictive covenant that restricted ownership of a section of land to "persons of the white or Caucasian race".

In 1933, Annie Noble had purchased a lot for a cottage in the Beach O' Pines area on Lake Huron. She decided in 1948 to sell the lot to Bernie Wolf, however, it was noticed that the original deed contained the following clause:

(f) The lands and premises herein described shall never be sold, assigned, transferred, leased, rented or in any manner whatsoever alienated to, and shall never be occupied or used in any manner whatsoever by any person of the Jewish, Hebrew, Semitic, Negro or coloured race or blood, it being the intention and purpose of the Grantor, to restrict the ownership, use, occupation and enjoyment of the said recreational development, including the lands and premises herein described, to persons of the white or Caucasian race not excluded by this clause.

Though Wolf was Jewish, Noble still wanted to sell him the land and so they applied to the court to get the covenant nullified, but faced opposition from the "Pines" community.

Noble and Wolf cited the recent decision of Re Drummond Wren, where the Ontario Court struck down a discriminatory covenant. However, at trial and on appeal the courts upheld the restriction.

The Supreme Court, in a six to one ruling, held that the covenant was invalid. They agreed with the lower court's dismissal of Drummond Wren and instead looked at the law of restrictive covenants and held that the language used in the restriction on alienation was too uncertain.

Read Also

Shelley v. Kraemer, an analogous case decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1948.

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