This Week at the SCC (08/11/2013)

The Supreme Court of Canada released one decision this week of interest to Canadian businesses and professions.

In R. v. Vu, 2013 SCC 60, the Court held that a search warrant could not be relied upon to search computers found at the residence it named, if the warrant did not specifically refer to or authorize computer searches.  In contrast to receptacles such as cupboards and filing cabinets, which can be searched without specific, prior authorization once a warrant is obtained to search the place at which they are found, the Court held that s. 8 of the Charter requires specific, prior authorization to search a computer.  The Court's judgment is interesting in emphasizing the unique privacy interests implicated by computer searches, which it referred to as "a multi-faceted instrumentality without precedent in our society".

The Court also denied leave to appeal this week from Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 233.  In Askin, the Court of Appeal held that Crown prerogative and the B.C. Constitution Act permit the appointment of a person who is not a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, and who is not qualified to practice law, as the Attorney General of British Columbia.

The McCarthy Tétrault Opinions Group consists of members of the firm’s litigation department whose practices focus on written advocacy and the provision of strategic advice and opinions in the context of complex business disputes and transactions.  The members of the Opinions Group are Anthony Alexander, Martin Boodman, Brandon Kain, Hovsep Afarian and Kirsten Thompson.

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