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Hunt v. T&N plc
,  4 S.C.R. 289 is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...
on conflict of laws. The Court ruled that the Quebec law prohibiting the removal of company documents from the province was constitutionally inapplicable to a British Columbia court order. The decision was significant in that it affirmed much of the reasoning from Morguard Investments Ltd. v. De Savoye
Morguard Investments Ltd. v. De Savoye,  3 S.C.R. 1077 is the leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the enforcement of extraprovincial judgments. The Court held that the standard for enforcing a default judgment from a different province is not the same as if it were from another...
(1990) and further held that the principles first identified in Morguard are fundamental to the constitution.
George Hunt, a resident of British Columbia, was diagnosed with cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...
fibers from a product that was manufactured in Quebec. As part of his action in British Columbia he tried to get an order to retrieve documents from the manufacturer in Quebec. The Quebec Business Concerns Records Act
prohibited the removal of documents outside of the province. Hunt attempted to challenge the law as unconstitutional.
Hunt attempted to argue that the decision of Morguard
which allowed for inter-provincial enforcement of orders could equally apply for constitutional challenges.
Reasons of the court
Justice La Forest, for the Court, allowed Hunt's appeal. He held that the Quebec prohibition on the removal of documents for litigation in BC was constitutionally inapplicable. The Act would remain in force but could not be applied against other provinces.
A preliminary issue addressed by La Forest was whether a provincial law could be challenged in the courts of any province. He found that it was possible on the basis that the superior courts were unified under the Constitution and derived their power from the same source.
La Forest addressed the matter of the "real and substantial" test and attempted to clarify on some confusion of the standard. He stated that it "was not meant to be a rigid test, but was simply intended to capture the idea that there must be some limits on the claims to jurisdiction... The exact limits of what constitutes a reasonable assumption of jurisdiction were not defined, and I add that no test can perhaps ever be rigidly applied; no court has ever been able to anticipate all of these." Regardless of the approach, the decision must ultimately be guided "by order and fairness, not a mechanical counting of contacts or connections".