Fellowes or Herd v Clyde Helicopters Ltd: HL 27 Feb 1997

A Police officer being carried in a force helicopter, and operating within his own force’s area was not on a matter of international carriage, and was not subject to the restrictions on recovery of damages. The helicopter had crashed into a building and he lost his life.
Lord Hope considered the Convention noting the width of article 1(1) which applies ‘to all international carriage of persons, baggage or cargo performed by aircraft for reward’, and said: ‘But the starting point is the generality of effect indicated by the use of the word ‘all’. The nationality or place of business of the carrier is irrelevant, as all carriers who undertake international carriage, as defined in article 1(2), of passengers, baggage or cargo by the aircraft are bound by the Convention. There is nothing in the Convention to indicate that the purpose for which the passenger, baggage or cargo was on the aircraft has any bearing on the question whether the Convention applies.
In my opinion the Convention agreed at Warsaw, as amended at the Hague, was intended to be, and is, capable of accommodating changes in the practice of airlines and aircraft operators with regard to the purposes for which aircraft are used to carry people and goods, and in the contractual arrangements in pursuance of which people and goods are carried by air for reward.’


Lord MacKay, Lord Chancellor Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead Lord Clyde


Gazette 26-Mar-1997, Times 07-Mar-1997, [1997] 1 All ER 775, [1997] UKHL 6, [1997] AC 534


House of Lords, Bailii


Carriage by Air (Application of Provisions) Order 1967 (1967 No 480)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLaroche v Spirit of Adventure (UK) Ltd CA 21-Jan-2009
Hot Air balloon was an aircraft: damages limited
The claimant was injured flying in the defendant’s hot air balloon. The defendant said that the journey was covered by the 1967 Regulations and the damages limited accordingly. The claimant appealed against a decision that the balloon was an . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Transport, Police, Damages, Personal Injury

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.158881