12 June 2014Print This Post

“Millions can claim” after Court of Appeal flight compensation ruling

Cancelled flights

“No little inconvenience” after flight delayed by 27 hours

Cheshire firm Bott & Co – which has pioneered a service enabling passengers to seek compensation for delayed flights – said that a Court of Appeal decision yesterday has opened the way for “millions” to bring claims.

The firm said it already had over 2,000 cases which could go ahead after yesterday’s ruling, together with several hundred more which were stayed pending the outcome.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the ruling had “clarified the law for millions of passengers”, who could “rightfully claim compensation for delays due to technical problems”.

She went on: “We’re disappointed that after three court hearings the airline is still trying to avoid paying out, and asking for further clarity when the Court of Appeal gave that clarity.”

She said the decision followed German, Dutch and European law, and the firm would be in a “confident” position if the case did end up at the Supreme Court.

Giving judgment at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Elias said Ronald Huzar had suffered “no little inconvenience” when his flight from Malaga to Manchester was delayed by 27 hours.

Mr Huzar sought compensation under regulation (EC) No.261/2004. However, low-cost airline Jet2.com argued that the delay was the result of “extraordinary circumstances”, an exception under the regulation to the rule that compensation was payable.

Ruling in Jet2.com v Huzar [2014] EWCA Civ 791, Elias LJ said the carrier argued that the delay was caused by a wiring defect in the fuel valve which “could not have been prevented by prior maintenance or prior visual inspection”.

Elias LJ said that “difficult technical problems arise as a matter of course in the ordinary operation of the carrier’s activity”.

He went on: “Some may be foreseeable and some not but all are, in my view, properly described as inherent in the normal exercise of the carrier’s activity. They have their nature and origin in that activity. They are part of the wear and tear.”

He dismissed the airline’s appeal. Lord Justice Laws and Lady Justice Gloster agreed.

Bott & Co announced in November that it had settled its 1,000th airline compensation case, nine months after opening the specialist department.

 

 

By Nick Hilborne

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