. See Hoon, English Customs
63, 272–273; Quincy, Reports (Appendix)
532 note; note 25
below. Writs of assistance were among those processes which would survive the death
of the sovereign by six months under 1 Anne, stat. 1, c. 8, §5 (1702), cited in notes
, below. No English case has been found in which the validity of the writs was directly
raised, but their existence as general warrants was recognized and seemingly approved
in a series of cases after 1765. See text
and note 33
below; Quincy, Reports (Appendix)
533–534 note. Gray suggests that the writ first came to the notice of the English
judges through Hutchinson's application to the ministry in 1761. Ibid.
See also cases cited, notes
, below. The writ remained in use in England throughout the 19th century in substantially
its earlier form. Wolkins, “Writs of Assistance in England,” 66 MHS, Procs.
357–360 (1936–1941). It is today authorized by the Customs and Excise Act of 1952,
15 & 16 Geo. 6 & 1 Eliz. 2, c. 44, §296, which permits entry with a writ by day or
night on “reasonable grounds to suspect that anything liable to forfeiture under the
customs or excise Acts” is concealed on the premises. The presence of a constable
is required only when the entry is at night. The special search warrant is clearly
distinguished, being covered in a separate paragraph. For an account of the practice
in 1930, when writs were in the custody of principal customs officers for use when
circumstances did not permit a special warrant, see Wolkins, “Writs of Assistance
in England,” 66 MHS, Procs.
362; Ham's Year Book
1930 180 (London, 1930). In Canada the writ is still issued to officers charged with
the enforcement of customs, excise, food and drug, and narcotics control acts. See
Trasewick, “Search Warrants and Writs of Assistance,” 5
Crim. Law Quart.
341, 345–349, 356–363 (1962).