Volume 46, No 2
The search for truth is at the heart of our judicial system. In order to ensure the realization of this principle, witnesses must be able to express themselves before judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals with frankness and honesty. It is in this light that the common law has afforded them, for centuries, the protection against self-incrimination. In 1982, Canada unmistakably chose, with regard to criminal evidence, to favour the principle of the search for truth by granting this protection constitutional status. The Supreme Court has extensively examined the purview of this protection guaranteed by sections 7 and 13 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, culminating in the most recent decision R v Nedelcu. The present article provides an overview of the historical and juris prudential evolution in addition to the nature and scope of this constitutional protection. This article is intended to be a comprehensive and concise analysis of the protections offered before judicial and quasijudicial bodies, as well as in traditional civil proceedings in Quebec.