Court hearing

In April 2019 my wife and I were due to fly from LHR to the Maldives via a hub airport. The flight was delayed 49mins in leaving LHR which meant that we missed our connecting flight to the Maldives. We were re-booked on to the next available flight which was the next morning. We were ultimately over 7hrs delayed in arriving at our final destination.

Following Vauban’s guide:

I made an initial claim to the airline. They refused to pay the compensation on the basis that our flight was delayed because the incoming flight was delayed. And the reason the preceding flight was delayed is because there was a sick passenger on board and this constituted an “extraordinary circumstance” so no compensation was due. I did not accept this and continued to press my claim but they still refused.

I raised a complaint with CAA who supported my view that they could not rely on “extraordinary circumstances” but they could not enforce the airline to pay compensation.

I put a claim in against the airline on Money Claim Online. The date has been set for a hearing on 7th June 2021.

This weekend I submitted my detailed particulars of claim and supporting documents which had to be filed 14 days in advance of the hearing and I have received the defence statement.

My main argument centres around that the cause of the delay to my flight has to be looked at in isolation. The cause was the late arrival of incoming aircraft which is not an “extraordinary circumstance”. Talked about Wallentin “inherent in the normal operation of an airline”. The reason the preceding flight was delayed is not relevant. I have also used the Finnair judgement, “particular aircraft on a particular day”.

Regarding all reasonable measures I have talked about sourcing another plane, booking us onto another flight and asked for strict proof what they did to try this. Have also talked about Eglitis and reserve time.

Is there anything I missed?

Now I’m not sure what to expect at the hearing. Will the judge just read both our documents and make a decision? Or will I be expected to deliver a presentation at the hearing?

I would appreciate if someone experienced could have a look over my particulars of claim and the defence statement and let me know if my arguments are along the right lines.
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Replies

  • StuberryStuberry Forumite
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    First Post
    Thanks everyone for your helpful input. Guess I’m on  my own with this one then.
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    Hi! Sorry nobody has bothered to respond. Had I seen this sooner I'd have advised you to contact Citizens Advice and I am surprised that nobody else has. Or a solicitor offering free initial appointments so you could at least discuss your situation.

    It appears that nobody on here has experienced anything similar, which would account for the 40+ views (to date) with no comment being made. 
    My opinions are strictly my own. The forum advises everyone to double-check all information given by any forumite to ensure accuracy. Once commented, I rarely return to a thread, as per this "the moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on" (origin Omar Khayyam). I aspire to the (corny but true) saying - in a world where you can be anything, please be kind.
  • HHarryHHarry Forumite
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    Was the LHR-HUB-MLE all on one ticket?  Or was it two separate flights LHR-HUB then HUB-MLE?
  • StuberryStuberry Forumite
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    It was all one ticket.

    I only have mentioned the name of the hub or airline in case they review google results and I’d rather they didn’t see this thread.
  • HHarryHHarry Forumite
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     No problem Stuberry - I just wanted to check.

    The Judge will just look at the evidence both sides presents and make a decision.  If you’ve referenced the applicable legislation that shows your entitled to compensation (EC261?) and included the CAA opinion that it wasn’t extraordinary circumstances then I don’t know what else you’ll need.
  • StuberryStuberry Forumite
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    First Post
    Hi Harry, thank you for your reassurance. I have included the email from CAA in my bundle and in the particulars of claim:

    ” On 8th June 2019 the Claimant raised a complaint with the Civil Aviation Authority
    (CAA). They replied on 27th March 2020:
    “Thank you for your patience with us while we investigated your complaint about the disruption of flight [redacted] on 7 April 2019. During our investigation we received information from [redacted] about the flight concerned, which we have considered in the light of new guidelines clarifying the 'extraordinary circumstances' exception of EC Regulation 261/2004.
    “It appears from the information provided that the airline cannot rely on the 'extraordinary circumstances' exception from the Regulation to refuse to pay compensation. It is our considered view that the airline has not demonstrated that this disruption was beyond their control. The airline have confirmed that a medical emergency was responsible for the flight disruption. The CAA has requested further information in connection with this. However, the airline have failed to provide the CAA with this information.”
    17. Following receipt of the considered opinion of the CAA the Claimant renewed his claim with the Defendant in an email on 8th April 2020. The Defendant replied on 9th April 2020 saying they have nothing more to add and consider the case closed.”

    The defendant has said in their skeleton argument:

    “The CAA email number 14 should be discounted as unfortunately it is their standard practice to send the same template responses to everyone without actually knowing the facts. It is very clear that Mr Tinner’s name and flight number have over-typed on this standard text template. The CAA have no enforcement powers in such cases.”

    So I hope the judge will properly consider the email from CAA.
  • edited 5 June at 7:11PM
    pphillipspphillips Forumite
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    edited 5 June at 7:11PM
    Stuberry said:

    The defendant has said in their skeleton argument:

    “The CAA email number 14 should be discounted as unfortunately it is their standard practice to send the same template responses to everyone without actually knowing the facts. It is very clear that Mr Tinner’s name and flight number have over-typed on this standard text template. The CAA have no enforcement powers in such cases.”

    So I hope the judge will properly consider the email from CAA.
    What the defendant says about the CAA email is speculative and therefore not evidence, unless they have disclosed evidence to back up their argument, the court shouldn't give this any weight. The CAA having no enforcement powers seems to be a distraction, I don't see how this is relevant.
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    pphillips said:
    Stuberry said:

    The defendant has said in their skeleton argument:

    “The CAA email number 14 should be discounted as unfortunately it is their standard practice to send the same template responses to everyone without actually knowing the facts. It is very clear that Mr Tinner’s name and flight number have over-typed on this standard text template. The CAA have no enforcement powers in such cases.”

    So I hope the judge will properly consider the email from CAA.
    What the defendant says about the CAA email is speculative and therefore not evidence, unless they have disclosed evidence to back up their argument, the court shouldn't give this any weight. The CAA having no enforcement powers seems to be a distraction, I don't see how this is relevant.
    Its ultimately a witness statement and the judge will decide what weight to give it based on any supporting evidence and their own opinion. 

    I would imagine that the airline is saying that the CCA is not the the authority on EC261 and as such their opinion is both boiler plate and irrelevant. Back in my motor claims days we forever got policyholders saying that the police had said the other driver was liable but similarly the police have no jurisdiction, training or knowledge on the tort of negligence, relevant case law etc because its civil law not criminal.

    In the unlikely even it actually makes it to a hearing the whole thing will be fairly informal, normally done in chambers (ie a meeting room) if not by telephone call. Under English Law a judge's role is to judge based on what is presented to them, under other legal systems the judge has a more investigative role, as such you need to be sure you remember all the points you want to raise if asked.
  • Alan_BowenAlan_Bowen Forumite
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    Sandtree, the original poster advised the hearing was on 7th June but has never come back to say what happened as no one offered advice at the time
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Sandtree, the original poster advised the hearing was on 7th June but has never come back to say what happened as no one offered advice at the time
    Last logged in on 22nd June - 3 weeks after the hearing.
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