Charter Challenge of Government Automobile Insurance Begins in Calgary



    EDMONTON, April 5 /CNW/ - The Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association is
testing whether the Alberta Government's automobile insurance minor injury
policy contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    The case begins Tuesday, April 10th in the Court of Queen's Bench
(Calgary) before Mr. Justice Neil Wittmann.
    ACTLA President Arthur Wilson, Q.C. says that the Association wants the
courts to determine whether the minor injury policy contravenes Section 15 of
the Charter, which prevents discrimination against a group of people based on
disability.
    "The reason our legal system works so well is because one group can make
a decision and another group can straight-forwardly question or challenge that
decision. The system recognizes that there are no cookie-cutter solutions", he
said. "It is our duty as responsible members of the legal profession to help
ensure Government policies are based solidly in law and applicable to all
Albertans. While we understand and agree with the Government's right to make
the rules around automobile insurance or any other matter, the Canadian
Constitution states those rules must take into consideration the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms," Wilson explained.
    At issue is the policy that sets a ceiling of $4,000 on the amount of
damages courts can award for soft-tissue injuries incurred by the victims of
automobile collisions.
    "It is our Association's contention that this ceiling unfairly
discriminates against victims of automobile collisions because it separates a
distinct group of people and treats them differently from others who have also
had the misfortune to be injured through no fault of their own," he said. "We
have seen too many cases since the government changed its policy in 2004 where
victims have suffered and will continue to suffer because of the current
situation".
    The case is expected to last up to five weeks with a decision likely this
fall.

    ACTLA MISSION STATEMENT: To advocate for a strong civil justice system
that protects the rights of all Albertans.





For further information:

For further information: Arthur Wilson, Q.C., President, ACTLA, (780)
938-7521; Lyn Bromilow, Executive Director, ACTLA, (780) 429-1133, Cell (780)
983-4540

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ALBERTA CIVIL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION

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