Landmark Ruling at Court Of Appeal Paves Way for Thousands of Air Passengers to Seek Compensation

Hayward Baker Solicitors has the pleasure to announce that the Court of Appeal in England has ruled today in the case of Lipton v BA City Flyer that airlines must pay compensation to passengers when their flight is cancelled or delayed as a result of a crew member going sick.

It is the first case in Europe that has looked at the issue of crew sickness when assessing whether an airline has to pay compensation to inconvenienced passengers under the passenger rights Regulation EC 261/2004.

Under the Regulation passengers can claim up to 600 euros depending on the length of the flight.  The airline can escape having to pay compensation providing that they can rely on the defence of extraordinary circumstances that no reasonable measures could have avoided when looking at the circumstances the led to the cancellation or delay to the flight over 3 hours.  This defence and the phrase “extraordinary circumstances” has been subject to numerous decisions across Europe over nearly two decades now but this is the first time that an appellant court has given a ruling that all the lower courts, at least in England and Wales, have to follow in relation to crew illness.

The panel was made up of Lord Justice Coulson, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Lord Justice Green.  LJ Coulson gave the lead opinion and held:

“29. […] The non- attendance of the captain due to illness was an inherent part of the respondent’s activity and operations as an air carrier, and could in no way be categorised as extraordinary.

30. Staff illness, and the need to accommodate such illness on a daily basis, is a commonplace for any business.  It is a mundane fact of commercial life: it is in no way out of the ordinary.”

Keith Hayward, the co-founder and Managing Director of Hayward Baker had this to say about the ruling:

This is a victory for consumers and a victory for common sense.  It has always been our firm belief that a crew member calling in sick could in no way be considered an event that was extraordinary. It is part and parcel of running any business and we are glad that the Court of Appeal has agreed with us and put this issue to bed once and for all. We invite the airlines to now take a look at their historic claims and pay the compensation owed to their passengers”.

The decision paves the way for thousands of cases to be reassessed by the airlines.

In England and Wales the time frame for bringing a claim is 6 years from the date of the flight so passengers are urged to approach the airlines and seek their compensation. If the airline has previously refused to pay due to a crew related issue then consumers should reapproach the airlines and if that fails to seek help from a firm like Hayward Baker who will be able to assist.


Free Eligibility Check

If your flight has been disrupted due to a delay or cancellation you may have the potential to make a claim under the EU Regulation 261/2004 for compensation.  This could be up to €600 per person.  Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 983 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a claim.

Have you had a flight that was disrupted?

You may be entitled to claim compensation.





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Landmark Ruling at Court Of Appeal Paves Way for Thousands of Air Passengers to Seek Compensation
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