Switzman v Elbling

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Switzman v Elbling [1957] SCR 285 was a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court struck down Quebec's Padlock Law.

Max Bailey, was a resident of a Park Avenue apartment in Montreal. In February 1948, Bailey, a former Montreal City Councillor and a Communist himself, wanted to assign his apartment to John Switzman, a prominent Marxist who wanted to turn the apartment into a local Communist hub. Freda Elbling, the landlord, tried to prevent Switzman from taking the apartment for fear of having her building appropriated by the province under the Padlock Law. Failing that, she applied to the court to have the lease cancelled.

In his defence, Switzman challenged the Padlock Law as a violation of freedom of speech and as a law ultra vires the power of the provincial government. At trial and on appeal, the courts found in favour of Elbling.

In an 8 to 1 decision, the Supreme Court found in favour of Switzman on both issues.

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