R. v. Howard Smith Paper Mills Ltd.

[1957] S.C.R. 403

Reasons

SCC

Now the general rule, not merely of England and Scotland, but, I believe, of every civilized nation, is expressed in the maxim, "Nova constitutio futuris formam imponere debet non praeteritis" - prima facie, any new law that is made affects future transactions not past ones. <P> Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the subject-matter of an Act might be such that, though there were not any express words to shew it, it might be retrospective. For instance, I think it is perfectly settled that if the Legislature intended to frame a new procedure, that instead of proceeding in this form or that, you should proceed in another and a different way; clearly there bygone transactions are to be sued for and enforced according to the new form of procedure.