Opinion Number. 59



Key Legislation

CUSTOMS TARIFF 1902 : FINANCE ACT 1901 (IMP.).ss. 2, 3


The Customs Duties Bill(1) as at present drafted purports to impose duties of customs as from 8 October 1901.

If it becomes law in that form I think that it must be conceded that the imposition of uniform duties dates from that date, unless it is beyond the power of the Parliament to pass a law in that form.

In the case of Attorney-General of Canada v. Foster 31 N.B. 153 (1892), cited in Lefroy at p. 282, it was held that the provisions of an Act providing that the Act should be held to have come into force on 28 March 1890 were valid notwithstanding that the Act was not assented to until 16 May in the same year. The Act was a Customs Act and the case is almost directly in point. One of the judges dissented from the decision of the Court on the ground that the section infringed to an unconstitutional extent upon property and civil rights.

Although from a legal point of view uniform duties have not yet been imposed there appears to be no reason why in accordance with constitutional precedent the imposition of Federal duties should not be dated back to the date of the resolution in the Committee of Ways and Means.

The Imperial Finance Act 1901,1 Edw. VII c. 7, was assented to on 26 July 1901 yet by sections 2 and 3 it imposes certain customs duties as from 19 April 1901.

[Vol. 1, p. 428]

(1) Enacted as the Customs Tariff 1902.