Hunter v. Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145 (1984)

Supreme Court of Canada

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Hunter v. Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145 (1984)

Hunter v. Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145

Lawson A. W. Hunter, Director of Investigation and Research of the Combines Investigation Branch, Michael J. Milton, Michael L. Murphy, J. Andrew McAlpine, and Antonio P. Marrocco, also known as Anthony P. Marroco Appellants;

and

Southam Inc. Respondent.

File No.: 17569.

1983: November 22; 1984: September 17.

Present: Laskin C.J.* and Ritchie, Dickson, Beetz, Estey, McIntyre, Chouinard, Lamer and Wilson JJ.

*The Chief Justice took no part in the judgment.

on appeal from the court of appeal for alberta

Constitutional law -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- Unreasonable search and seizure -- Combines Investigation Act search and seizure powers -- Standards required for issuance of warrant -- Standards not specified -- Neutrality of arbiter issuing warrant -- Whether search and seizure powers of Combines Investigation Act inconsistent with s. 8 of Charter and therefore of no force or effect -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 8 -- Combines Investigation Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-23, ss. 10(1), (3).

Pursuant to s. 10(1) of the Combines Investigation Act, the Director of Investigation and Research of the Combines Investigation Branch authorized several Combines Investigation officers to enter and examine documents and other things at a respondent's business premises in Edmonton "and elsewhere in Canada". The authorization was certified by a member of the Restrictive Trade Practices Commission pursuant to s. 10(3) of the Act. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was proclaimed after the authorization was made but before the actual search had begun. Respondent unsuccessfully sought an interim injunction pending trial of the question whether the search was in violation of s. 8 of the Charter--the unreasonable search and seizure provision. The Alberta Court of Appeal ordered all documents taken from the respondent's premises sealed as an interim measure and proceeded with the appeal on the basis that the issue of whether s. 10 was inconsistent with the Constitution could have been properly dealt with as an application for summary judgment at first instance. Appellants appeal from that Court's finding that s. 10(3), and, by implication, s. 10(1) of the Act, were inconsistent with the Charter and therefore of no force or effect.

Held: The appeal should be dismissed.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a purposive document, the provisions of which must be subjected to a purposive analysis. Section 8 of the Charter guarantees a br...

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