BenchPress--Vol 41-6.

Author:Peerani, Aaida

(1.) Damages for Future Surrogacy Fees

For the first time in Canada, a car crash victim has been awarded financial compensation for the future cost of surrogacy. The case, Wilhemson v. Dumma, centered on Mikaela Wilhemson who was the sole survivor of a "horrendous, high-speed, head-on" collision that killed three other people including her boyfriend.

In Canada, the law prohibits payment for a woman to carry another woman's eggs or act as a surrogate. However, in her 109-page decision only on the issue of damages, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Neena Sharma awarded Mikaela Wilhemson almost $4,000,000 of which $100,000 was included for surrogacy fees.

Justice Sharma relied on expert testimony to find that Ms. Wilhemson would have significant difficulties and put her health and welfare at risk to an unreasonable degree if she were to conceive and carry a child after the accident. Justice Sharma also relied on legal precedents to award damages for the cost of private clinics and U.S. health care expenses and to determine that compensating an American surrogate is lawful. Notably, both parties agreed that the loss of Ms. Wilhemson's ability to carry a child was compensable.

(2.) Costly Delays for Lawyers

Veteran criminal lawyer Robert Jodoin of Quebec was personally slapped with $3,000.00 in costs after he made two sets of motions against two judges. The motions challenged the jurisdiction of the judges on the grounds of bias in hopes of causing them to recuse from cases that Mr. Jodoin was set to defend. Mr. Jodoin was attempting to postpone trials of ten of his clients who were facing impaired driving charges. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC").

The SCC agreed with the lower court decision and stated that a lawyer can be personally liable on an exceptional basis where they have seriously undermined the authority of the courts or interfered with the administration of justice. This decision reflects the SCC's recent trend to speak out against complacency towards trial delays which can impair the efficiency of the criminal justice system as in the SCC's 2016 R v. Jordan decision. However, the dissenting judges expressed concerns. They agreed with the majority in principle that judges can penalize abusive advocates, but found that Mr. Jodoin's actions were not rare or sufficiently exceptional to justify punishment. Moreover, the dissent...

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