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Passenger Liability, according to the Montreal Convention

Paulsson, Karin (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
This thesis deals with the international rules regarding passenger liability on an international aircraft. The focus will be the carrier's liability toward passengers on an aircraft. The purpose is to give an account of the common international rules and to clarify the problems with interpretation of the passenger liability article. I will focus on the Montreal Convention of 1999, which is the newest convention. Article 17 deals with the carrier's liability towards passengers. The requirements in that article are that there must have been an accident which caused death or bodily injury while the passenger was onboard the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking. There are terms in the article that have not been defined and it... (More)
This thesis deals with the international rules regarding passenger liability on an international aircraft. The focus will be the carrier's liability toward passengers on an aircraft. The purpose is to give an account of the common international rules and to clarify the problems with interpretation of the passenger liability article. I will focus on the Montreal Convention of 1999, which is the newest convention. Article 17 deals with the carrier's liability towards passengers. The requirements in that article are that there must have been an accident which caused death or bodily injury while the passenger was onboard the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking. There are terms in the article that have not been defined and it is instead a subject for courts to solve. In this thesis, I will examine the questions: what do the terms embarking and disembarking imply, what constitutes an article 17 accident and what damages are recoverable? To be able to solve the problems introduced in this thesis I have read and interpreted cases from signatory states. I have chosen cases, which have been widely referred to in literature and in other cases. I have also, to a large extent, used relevant literature, article by recognized Air Law experts and official aviation web sites to collect information. The purpose for creating the conventions on passenger liability has been to uniform the rules on international aviation. However, it has been an issue to uniform the rules due to the amount of actors involved. There are many opinions to consider and the result has become a compromise. There is also no consistent uniformity among the Supreme Courts in the signatories and therefore, it has been hard to find an exact definition to the terms. By examining rulings and opinions of experts, I find it possible to determine that a passenger will be in the course of embarking or disembarking when he has reached the boarding area, after the boarding announcement, or when he is still on the apron. However, the passenger will not be found to be in the course of embarking or disembarking, before check in or even before security and after leaving the apron. However, certain circumstances can alter the decision, for example when the carrier or its agent escorts a minor in the terminal. Regarding what constitutes an article 17 accident it seems that a uniform interpretation is to determine if there is an unexpected or unusual event or happening external to the passenger. Consequently, the accident cannot be caused by the passenger's own internal reaction to the normal conditions on a flight. It can also be of importance to consider if the accident was caused due to aviation related risk inherent. A passenger can recover for death or bodily injury when harmed in an accident. Consequently, all physical injuries are recoverable and the problem is to determine if mental injury shall be recoverable as well. The courts have to interpret the term bodily injury to determine if it includes mental injury. The opinions differ between states. One conclusion to be drawn is that solely mental injury is not recoverable. There is though no uniformity when mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury. Mental injury flowing from physical injury can be recoverable in some circumstances, but it is harder when dealing with a physical manifestation of mental injury. (Less)
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author
Paulsson, Karin
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Förmögenhetsrätt, Skadeståndsrätt, Transporträtt
language
English
id
1561100
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:27
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:27
@misc{1561100,
  abstract     = {This thesis deals with the international rules regarding passenger liability on an international aircraft. The focus will be the carrier's liability toward passengers on an aircraft. The purpose is to give an account of the common international rules and to clarify the problems with interpretation of the passenger liability article. I will focus on the Montreal Convention of 1999, which is the newest convention. Article 17 deals with the carrier's liability towards passengers. The requirements in that article are that there must have been an accident which caused death or bodily injury while the passenger was onboard the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking. There are terms in the article that have not been defined and it is instead a subject for courts to solve. In this thesis, I will examine the questions: what do the terms embarking and disembarking imply, what constitutes an article 17 accident and what damages are recoverable? To be able to solve the problems introduced in this thesis I have read and interpreted cases from signatory states. I have chosen cases, which have been widely referred to in literature and in other cases. I have also, to a large extent, used relevant literature, article by recognized Air Law experts and official aviation web sites to collect information. The purpose for creating the conventions on passenger liability has been to uniform the rules on international aviation. However, it has been an issue to uniform the rules due to the amount of actors involved. There are many opinions to consider and the result has become a compromise. There is also no consistent uniformity among the Supreme Courts in the signatories and therefore, it has been hard to find an exact definition to the terms. By examining rulings and opinions of experts, I find it possible to determine that a passenger will be in the course of embarking or disembarking when he has reached the boarding area, after the boarding announcement, or when he is still on the apron. However, the passenger will not be found to be in the course of embarking or disembarking, before check in or even before security and after leaving the apron. However, certain circumstances can alter the decision, for example when the carrier or its agent escorts a minor in the terminal. Regarding what constitutes an article 17 accident it seems that a uniform interpretation is to determine if there is an unexpected or unusual event or happening external to the passenger. Consequently, the accident cannot be caused by the passenger's own internal reaction to the normal conditions on a flight. It can also be of importance to consider if the accident was caused due to aviation related risk inherent. A passenger can recover for death or bodily injury when harmed in an accident. Consequently, all physical injuries are recoverable and the problem is to determine if mental injury shall be recoverable as well. The courts have to interpret the term bodily injury to determine if it includes mental injury. The opinions differ between states. One conclusion to be drawn is that solely mental injury is not recoverable. There is though no uniformity when mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury. Mental injury flowing from physical injury can be recoverable in some circumstances, but it is harder when dealing with a physical manifestation of mental injury.},
  author       = {Paulsson, Karin},
  keyword      = {Förmögenhetsrätt,Skadeståndsrätt,Transporträtt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Passenger Liability, according to the Montreal Convention},
  year         = {2009},
}