court of appeal ruling opens floodgates on thousands of flight compensation claims
19 Jun 2014

Court of Appeal Ruling Opens Floodgates on Thousands of Flight Compensation Claims

A landmark Court of Appeal ruling opens floodgates on thousands of flight compensation claims cases against airlines. Some airlines, most notably Thomson, had previously relied on the specious argument that the Montreal Convention should apply to these claims. However in a September 2013 Cambridge County Court case the judge ruled against this argument.

Thomson appeal ruling

In the Cambridge County Court case, HHJ Yelton (presiding) also gave permission for Thomson to appeal the ruling, in order that the appeal be heard in a higher court where a legally binding precedent could be set. This would mean that the ruling could then be applied in lower courts, such as County Courts, where most flight compensation cases are heard. The Court of Appeal today upheld his judgement and ruled against the argument that the Montreal Convention applies to flight delay compensation claims.

Statute of limitations to apply

Under the Montreal Convention rules, cases should be brought within 2 years. However, a legal precedent had already been set in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Moré v KLM case, which found that flight compensation claims – falling under EC Regulation 261/2004 – are separate actions not governed by the rules of the Montreal Convention. The ECJ ruled that the statute of limitations should apply instead, in whichever EU country the action is brought in. In England and Wales, this is 6 years as governed by the Limitation Act 1980.

Did Thomson appeal to buy time?

Commentators have speculated about Thomson’s reasons for pursuing this appeal, which was always considered unlikely to find in their favour. Some industry insiders have suggested that the decision was commercially based, in the hope that numerous claims for flight delays would lapse outside of the statute of limitations by the time the Court of Appeal returns a judgement.

Whatever Thomson’s reasons were for pursuing this appeal, thousands of claimants who had previously had claims rejected by airlines under the Montreal Convention time limit will now be able to pursue their claims.

A spokesperson for said today, “We have been anticipating today’s ruling for several months. Many of our claims have been stayed by county courts, pending this appeal. Hopefully now these cases will be heard as they should, and inconvenienced passengers can finally get the compensation they deserve.”

There’s a FREE compensation calculator on our website, so if you think you may be owed money for a delayed or cancelled flight – use it today.


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Big thanks for the £304.70 transferred to my bank account today. My claim related to a three-leg flight from Norwich UK to Phoenix USA via Schiphol. The CAA suggested I had a good case but could do nothing because the delay occurred within Dutch jurisdiction. I twice did battle with KLM/Delta myself but they would not budge. Another claims firm tried but threw in the towel. So congratulations to Claim4Flights for taking it on and winning – and for getting the money transferred into my bank account within two days of notification. Very impressed!

Delta Airlines Flight – Andy, Norfolk from Delta Airlines £304.70 won 11th April 2017
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