Attorney General of Canada v. Attorney General of British Columbia et al., (1984) 52 N.R. 335 (SCC)

JudgeLaskin, C.J.C., Ritchie, Dickson, Beetz, Estey, Chouinard and Wilson, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 17, 1984
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1984), 52 N.R. 335 (SCC);1984 CanLII 138 (SCC);[1984] 1 SCR 388;8 DLR (4th) 161;52 NR 335;[1984] 4 WWR 289

Can. (A.G.) v. B.C. (A.G.) (1984), 52 N.R. 335 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

Attorney General of Canada v. Attorney General of British Columbia et al.

Indexed As: Attorney General of Canada v. Attorney General of British Columbia et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Ritchie, Dickson, Beetz, Estey, Chouinard and Wilson, JJ.

May 17, 1984.

Summary:

The Lieutenant Governor in Council of British Columbia referred to the British Columbia Court of Appeal a question respecting title to land covered by the waters between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the submerged lands in question were part of British Columbia when it entered Confederation and accordingly the submerged lands are the property of British Columbia and not Canada. The judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal is reported at (1976), 1 B.C.L.R. 97. The Attorney General of Canada appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Ritchie and Wilson, JJ., dissenting, in the Supreme Court of Canada, would have allowed the appeal and would have held that the submerged lands were the property of Canada.

Constitutional Law - Topic 772

Territorial limits - Provinces - British Columbia - Title to land covered by the waters between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the straits and submerged lands in question were part of the Colony of British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871 and, accordingly, the submerged lands are the property of British Columbia and not Canada (see paragraphs 77 and 78).

Crown - Topic 504

Acquisition and transfer of rights - Acquisition of rights from Great Britain - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to how rights may be assigned from Great Britain to another government within the Commonwealth (see paragraph 6).

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, ex parte Indian Association of Alberta et al., [1982] 2 All E.R. 118, refd to. [para. 6].

Offshore Mineral Rights of British Columbia, Reference re, [1967] S.C.R. 792, dist. [para. 8]; refd to. [paras. 80 and 130].

R. v. Keyn (1876), 2 Ex. D. 63, refd to. [paras. 23 and 83].

R. v. Burt (1932), 5 M.P.R. 112, refd to. [paras. 36 and 130].

New South Wales et al. v. Australia (1975), 135 C.L.R. 337, refd to. [para. 61].

R. v. Bruce (1812), 168 E.R. 782, refd to. [para. 73].

R. v. Mannion (1846), 2 Cox. C.C. 158, refd to. [para. 73].

R. v. Kahistaka (1906), 8 West. Aust. R. 154, refd to. [para. 73].

R. v. Ford (1956), 115 C.C.C. 113 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 74].

R. v. Johanson (1922), 31 B.C.R. 211 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 74].

Harris v. Owners of the "Franconia" (1877), 2 C.P.D. 173, refd to. [para. 85].

Post Office v. Estuary Radio Ltd., [1968] 2 Q.B. 740, refd to. [para. 87].

Direct United States Cable Co. Ltd. v. Anglo-American Telegraph Co. Ltd. (1877), L.R. 2 App. Cas. 394, refd to. [paras. 90 and 111].

R. v. Cunningham (1859), Bell's Cr. C. 72, refd to. [para. 93].

Bonser v. La Macchia (1969), 122 C.L.R. 177, refd to. [para. 102].

Mortensen v. Peters (1906), 14 Scots L.T. 227, refd to. [para. 106].

Admiralty Case (1611), 12 Co. Rep. 79, refd to. [para. 107].

"Fagernes", The, [1927] P. 311, refd to. [para. 111].

Mahler v. Norwich and New York Transportation Company (1866), 35 N.Y. 352, refd to. [para. 112].

United States v. Grush (1829), 5 Mason 290, refd to. [para. 114].

Commonwealth v. Peters (1847), 53 Mass. 387, refd to. [para. 114].

Dunham v. Lamphere (1855), 69 Mass. 268, refd to. [para. 114].

Manley v. The People (1852), 7 N.Y. 295, refd to. [para. 114].

New South Wales v. Australia (1975), 8 A.L.R. 1, refd to. [para. 135].

"Saxonia", The, [1862] Lush 410, refd to. [para. 151].

"Public Opinion", The (1832), 2 Haggard's Adm. Rep. 398, refd to. [para. 152].

Schooner "Washington" Case, The (1922), Scott's Intl. L.C., refd to. [para. 158].

Manchester v. Massachusetts (1891), 139 U.S. 240, refd to. [para. 160].

Pillai v. Muthupayal (1903-04), 27 Madras 551, refd to. [para. 161].

A.M.S.S.V.M. & Co. v. State of Madras (1954), A.I.R. Madras 291, refd to. [para. 161].

"Fame", The (1822), 8 Fed. Cas. 984, refd to. [para. 168].

"Grace", The (1894), 4 Ex. C.R. 283, refd to. [para. 168].

Statutes Noticed:

Territorial Sea and Fishing Zones Act, S.C. 1964, c. 22, sect. 3(1) [para. 15].

Territorial Waters Jurisdiction Act, 1878, 41 & 42 Vic., c. 73 [para. 69].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th Ed., vol. 11, page 59 [para. 73].

Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Ed., vol. 39, page 555 [para. 82].

Coke's Fourth Institute, 1641, page 140 [para. 107].

Hale, De Jure Maris [para. 108].

Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, 1721, vol. 2, page 44 [para. 109].

East, Pleas of the Crown, 1803, vol. 2, page 804 [para. 110].

Fulton, The Sovereignty of the Sea, 1911, page 118 [para. 111].

O'Connell, International Law, 1970, vol. 1, page 488 [para. 111].

Halleck, International Law, 1861, c. 6, s. 16 [para. 113].

Shorter Oxford Dictionary (3rd Ed. 1965) [para. 135].

Webster's International Dictionary, 1906 [para. 135].

Hurst, Cecil, The Territoriality of Bays [para. 160].

Counsel:

T.B. Smith, Q.C., M.L. Jewett and P.K. Doody, for the appellant;

George S. Cumming, Q.C., and Norman Tarnow, for the respondents;

Gordon F. Henderson, Q.C., and Emile S. Binavince, for the respondent Attorney General of Nova Scotia;

Bruce Judah, for the respondent Attorney General of New Brunswick;

William Henkel, Q.C., for the respondent Attorney General of Alberta;

James J. Greene, Q.C., and Colin K. Irving, for the respondent Attorney General of Newfoundland.

This appeal was heard by Laskin, C.J.C., Ritchie, Dickson, Beetz, Estey, Chouinard and Wilson, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada on October 26, 27 and 28, 1982.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered on May 17, 1984 and the following opinions were filed:

Dickson, J. - see paragraphs 1 to 79;

Wilson, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 80 to 172;

Ritchie, J., dissenting - see paragraph 173.

Beetz, Estey and Chouinard, JJ., concurred with Dickson, J.

Laskin, C.J.C., took no part in the judgment.

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