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IVF Clinic successfully defends breach of contract compensation claim

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A man who sued an IVF clinic in London for breach of contract over a faked signature has lost his claim for compensation at the Court of Appeal.

Referred to in the case as ‘ARB’, the man sued the clinic IVF Hammersmith after his ex-partner, referred to as ‘R’ during the hearing, was impregnated with a frozen egg fertilised from his sperm in October 2010. The impregnation was a number of months after they had separated; ‘R’ had forged the the mans signature to enable her to continue with the IVF treatment, resulting in ARB bringing a claim for compensation to reflect the costs involved in raising the child.

ARB was successful in arguing that in failing to get his consent, the clinic was in breach of contract. However, senior judges upheld a previous ruling that he was not entitled to any financial compensation because of “public policy” that meant he could not be compensated for the cost of bringing up a healthy child.

The relationship between R and ARB had effectively ended in May 2010, resulting in R moving out of the home they were sharing. In October 2010, R presented a signed form to the clinic giving consent to proceed with the IVF treatment. A number of embryos had previously been frozen with both parties’ consent and on the basis of the document, an embryo was thawed and successfully implanted.


At the original High Court hearing in October last year, Judges heard how R had traced in pen over a pencil outline of ARB’s signature on the clinics consent form. The judge also said he was satisfied that ARB had no intention of having another child with R after they had separated. ARB argued he was entitled to financial compensation from the clinic because it had breached its contract with him by failing to obtain his “written or informed consent”. The judge concluded that the clinic was not negligent and ARB succeeded on all issues “save the issue of legal policy”, which meant he could not recover damages.

The Judge at the original ruling stated that

Although he has lost this case, my judgment must be seen as a complete personal and moral vindication for ARB. The same, of course, cannot be said for R.”

He granted permission to appeal and ARB brought a challenge against the ruling in October. His lawyers argued that the legal policy referred to by the judge in his ruling was not relevant to his case as it involved a contract.

If you are thinking about taking legal action against another individual or company but are worried about the costs involved, Advantage Litigation Services have the skills and expertise to help you find a way of funding commercial litigation without risking your personal finances or those of your business. Click here to contact us today or call 0800 160 1298 to see how we can help.

 

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