The Court of Appeal this morning (19/06/2014) has handed down the Judgment in Dawson v Thomson Airways Limited; another victory for the passenger!
Mr Dawson was travelling from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic in December 2006 for some winter sun when he was delayed by crew shortages; he arrived in his destination over six hours late. Mr Dawson claimed the €600 per person he was entitled to for himself and his party.
The airline refused to pay so Mr Dawson issued proceedings in the Cambridge County Court in December 2012, just before the six year limitation period, under s. 9 Limitation Act 1980, ended. The airline confirmed it would have paid but, unfortunately, Mr Dawson was out of time as his claim was four years late under Article 35 of the Montreal Convention, the international Agreement that governs all claims for loss and damage caused by air travel.
The airline, through its barrister, argued that a claim for delay is a claim for loss and damage so it falls within the scope of the Convention and is subject to the strict two year time limit. The airline relied upon the case of Sidhu v British Airways  and subsequent case law which states that the Convention’s predecessor was a self-contained code, as indeed is the Montreal Convention, and as such the two year deadlines to make claims should apply.
This was rejected on the basis that this is only true in that the Convention is exclusive with regard to the matters it deals with; injury, damages and loss.
Lord Justice Moore-Bick said this morning;
“…we are bound to follow and apply the decisions of the European Court in relation to the nature of the claim for compensation under article 7 and its compatibility with the Montreal Convention. That includes the Court’s ruling that the obligation in question lies outside the scope of the Convention. If that be correct, the Convention has no application to it”
If you have been affected by any flight delays or cancellations in the last 6 years please contact one of our experts for a free discussion regarding your potential No Win – No Fee claim on 0148 278 7771.