goodwithmoney101 wrote: »
After receiving a positive ruling in my case against Ryanair, I wanted to come back and share part of the Sheriff's ruling in case it is of some help to others. If anyone knows how to upload a document/image here please let me know and I will post the full ruling. I must confess that much of the ruling is beyond my understanding, therefore I would appreciate advice from anyone with better knowledge of such things...a few specific questions I have are listed below but any other thoughts are welcome...
1. It seems Ryanair's clause 15.2, which seeks to limit actions to a period of 2 years, does form a valid part of the contract because it was agreed to prior to confirming the booking. However the real crux of the court's decision to award in our favour appears to relate to the court's interpretation of the word "damages". Ryanair's usage of the phrase "right to damages" in 15.2 as it existed in 2008 when our flights were booked appears to have shot them in the foot. Incidentally since 2008 Ryanair have updated their T&Cs so that it now states "right to damages and/or compensation". Excerpts from the ruling are below:
a) "Separately from the statutory rules in regard to prescription and limitation it is well settled that the parties may agree to limit the time within which any claim may be brought. The question here is whether a right to compensation under EC 261/2004 amounts to a “right to damages”, which is the expression used in clause 15.2 to describe that which is extinguished if an action is not brought within two years. The starting point for consideration, in this case beyond which, as will be seen, it is unnecessary to go, is the natural and ordinary meaning of that phrase."
b) “It might have been more helpful if Philip Lee, the Irish Counsel, whose opinion is presented in support of the defendant’s position had, at paragraph 13 of that opinion, quoted McGregor on Damages (18th ed) in full:
A resounding definition of the term ‘damages’ would make for a fitting opening of a work on the law damages and in their first sentence earlier edditions have done just this. But it has become more and more difficult, as time has moved on, to construct a definition of damages which is satisfactory and which is comprehensive. So many exceptions to and qualification upon, once solid, clear, unadulterated rules have appeared, perfectly sensibly, that a clear-cut definition is no longer reasonable; the arrival of restitutionary damages and of human rights was the last straw. The impossible search for a clear-cut comprehensive definition is therefore abandoned. Instead the definition from earlier editions, a definition which still represents the norm, is taken but it is qualified to indicate that it applies generally but not invariably, thus:
Damages in the vast majority of cases are the pecuniary compensation obtainable by success in an action, for a wrong which is either tort or a breach of contract, the compensation being in the form of a lump sum awarded at one time, unconditionally and in sterling.”
c) “There is nothing in the general conditions to suggest that the intention of the draughtsperson [of Ryanair's T&Cs] to use the expression otherwise than in its normal sense. If one proceeds upon an understanding of "damages" in accordance with the norm then I do not consider that compensation payable by virtue of EC 261/2004 can be described as compensation for a wrong which is either a tort (in Scotland the word is "delict") or a breach of contract. While damages are compensatory not all claims for compensation are necessarily claims for damages.”
d) “'McGregor on Damages' (18th Ed) identifies four types of money claims in which pecuniary satisfaction is gained by success in an action but which are not based upon a tort or breach of contract and which do not satisfy any definition of damages because they fall outside of any definition. The fourth of these types are actions claiming money under statutes where the claim is made independently of a wrong wich is tort/delict or breach of contract. The examples given are actions in respect of benefits under the Social Security Acts, claims for unfair dismissal and for redundancy payment under the Employment Rights Act 1996. I consider that a claim under EC 261/2004 has exactly the character of a claim under legislation (in this case in the form of an EC regulation) where the claim is made independently of any wrong.”
e) ”Actions claiming money based upon statutes which have created a tort/delict are actions for damages. As I read EC 261/2004 it does not expressly create any tort/delict and nor can it be said that the decision in Joined Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07is a ruling in which the court has identified the existence of a statutory tort/delict.”
f) “The amendment which the defendant has made to clause 15.2 in the current edition of the general conditions appearing on the defendant's website inserts after "right to damages" the additional words "and/or compensation"; an insertion which might be thought to be significant.”
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