Her most memorable case involved IVF mix-up

Ms Audrey Chiang says landmark case overturned existing law and created a new head of claim.
Ms Audrey Chiang says landmark case overturned existing law and created a new head of claim.

Lawyer Audrey Chiang has clocked 18 years of litigation practice preceded by two years as a banking and property lawyer, but the most memorable case she has worked on involved an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) mix-up.

"My client runs both a private hospital and fertility clinic, and in October 2010, a child was born with markedly different skin tone from her parents, who had undergone IVF procedures in order to conceive her," said Ms Chiang.

It emerged that the child did not have the biological and genetic material of the father when she was conceived. This led to much media attention , updates in the law and a lawsuit by the mother against the hospital for damages.

At issue was whether the mother was entitled to the costs of the child's upkeep till the girl is " fully and financially self reliant".

The Court of Appeal rejected the upkeep claim as contrary to public policy in a 135-page judgment earlier this year.

But in a ground-breaking move , the court, among other things, recognised that the woman had suffered a loss of " genetic affinity", for which damages was payable to be quantified at 30 per cent of the financial costs of raising the child.

"It is not often that a litigator is involved in a case which is not only novel on its facts, but also results in a landmark decision which overturns existing law and creates a new head of claim, and this is a privilege which I will not forget," said Ms Chiang, a senior partner from Dentons Rodyk & Davidson.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'Her most memorable case involved IVF mix-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe