Barclay v British Airways Plc: CA 18 Dec 2008

The claimant sought damages for personal injury. The airline said that the injury was not the result of an accident within article 17.1. She was walking down the aisle and slipped.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The meaning of ‘accident’ within the Convention was autonomous. The court was being asked ‘Where injury is caused by an event (here the slip) constituted by some contact or interaction between the passenger and the aeroplane in its normal state, is such an event an ‘accident’ within Article 17.1? ‘ If accepted, this would impose liability on the airline for any injury resulting from contact between the aircraft and the passenger. Article 17.1 contemplates, by the term ‘accident’, a distinct event, not being any part of the usual, normal and expected operation of the aircraft, which happens independently of anything done or omitted by the passenger.

Laws, Thomas, Wilson LJJ
[2008] EWCA Civ 1419
Bailii, Times
Montreal Convention 1999 17.1, Carriage by Air Act 1961
England and Wales
CitedSidhu and Others v British Airways Plc; Abnett (Known as Sykes) v Same HL 13-Dec-1996
The claimants had been air passengers who were unlawfully detained in Kuwait, when their plane was captured whilst on the ground on the invasion of Kuwait. They sought damages for that detention.
Held: There are no exceptions to the Warsaw . .
Appeal fromBarclay v British Airways plc CC 27-Feb-2008
(Oxford County Court) The claimant slipped as she boarded an aircraft and sought damages for injuries to her knee. Her claim was brought under the Convention. The defendant denied that the injury occurred as the result of an accident, saying that an . .
CitedAir France v Saks 1985
(United States Supreme Court) The claimant suffered damage to and become permanently deaf in one ear as a result of pressurisation changes while the aircraft descended to land. The pressure system had worked normally. The airline said that the . .
CitedEl Al Israel Airlines Ltd v Tsui Yuan Tseng 16-Sep-1997
(US Supreme Court) The Warsaw Convention should be applied in a consistent manner internationally, without reference to the local laws of the high contracting parties. . .
CitedKing v Bristow Helicopters Ltd; Morris v KLM Royal Dutch Airlines HL 28-Feb-2002
Psychiatric Injury under Warsaw Convention
The applicants were passengers who claimed damages for psychiatric injury, after accidents in aircraft.
Held: The Convention created strict liability on air carriers, but explicitly restricted damages to be payable for ‘bodily injury’. That . .
CitedDeep Vein Thrombosis and Air Travel Group Litigation HL 8-Dec-2005
The appellants had suffered deep vein thrombosis whilst travelling on long haul air flights. The defendants said that their liability was limited because the injuries were not accidents.
Held: The claimants’ appeal failed. The definition of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Transport

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.278946