Fothergill v Monarch Airlines Ltd: HL 10 Jul 1980

The plaintiff, on arriving at the airport found that his luggage had been lost. The defendant denied liability saying he had not notified his claim within the requisite period.
Held: Elementary justice requires that the rules by which the citizen is bound should be ascertainable by reference to sources that are accessible. A court may in appropriate cases have regard to travaux preparatoires in construing a treaty but such an aid is only helpful if the materials clearly and indisputably point to a definite treaty intention. As to the Convention: ‘The language of that Convention that has been adopted at the international conference to express the common intention of the majority of the states represented there is meant to be understood in the same sense by the courts of all those states which ratify or accede to the Convention. Their national styles of legislative draftsmanship will vary considerably as between one another. So will the approach of their judiciaries to the interpretation of written laws and to the extent to which recourse may be had to travaux preparatoires, doctrine and jurisprudence as extraneous aids to the interpretation of the legislative text. The language of an international convention has not been chosen by an English parliamentary draftsman. It is neither couched in the conventional English legislative idiom nor designed to be construed exclusively by English judges. It is addressed to a much wider and more varied judicial audience than is an Act of Parliament that deals with purely domestic law. It should be interpreted, as Lord Wilberforce put it in James Buchanan and Co. Ltd v Babco Forwarding and Shipping (U.K.) Ltd [1978] A.C. 141, 152, `unconstrained by technical rules of English law, or by English legal precedent, but on broad principles of general acceptation.’ and where a treaty is directly incorporated into English law by Act of the legislature, its terms become subject to the interpretative jurisdiction of the court in the same way as any other Act of the legislature.
Lord Diplock, Lord Wilberforce
[1980] 2 All ER 696, [1980] 3 WLR 209, [1981] AC 251, [1980] UKHL 6
mercatoria, Bailii
Warsaw Convention 1929 17, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
England and Wales
Cited by:
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CitedStevenson and Another v Rogers CA 8-Dec-1998
The defendant, who carried on the business of a fisherman, sold his vessel Jelle to the plaintiff with a view to having a new boat built to his requirements. In the event he bought a replacement vessel which he continued to use for his business. The . .
CitedMullen, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Apr-2004
The claimant had been imprisoned, but his conviction was later overturned. He had been a victim of a gross abuse of executive power. The British authorities had acted in breach of international law and had been guilty of ‘a blatant and extremely . .
CitedJindal Iron and Steel Co Ltd and others v Islamic Solidarity Shipping Company Jordan Inc (‘The Jordan II’) HL 25-Nov-2004
Cargo was damaged by rough handling during loading and/or discharging, and/or inadequate stowage due to failure to provide dunnage, failure to secure the coils and/or stacking them so that the bottom layers were excessively compressed. The House was . .
CitedJ I MacWilliam Company Inc v Mediterranean Shipping Company SA; The ‘Rafaela S’ HL 16-Feb-2005
A US company bought a printing machine and ancillary equipment on CIF terms from an English company. The sellers consigned the goods to the buyers. The carriers were a container liner operator and the demise charterers of the vessels ‘Rosemary’ and . .
CitedOccidental Exploration and Production Company vRepublic of Ecuador CA 9-Sep-2005
The parties had arbitrated their dispute in London under a bilateral investment treaty between the US and Ecuador. The republic sought to appeal the arbitration. The applicant now appealed an order that the English High Court had jurisdiction to . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedChristian and others v The Queen PC 30-Oct-2006
(The Pitcairn Islands) The defendants appealed convictions for assorted sexual offences against underage girls. They denied that the laws under which they were convicted had applied to the Pitcairn Islands.
Held: The appeals against conviction . .
CitedInland Revenue Commissioners v Commerzbank AG ChD 1990
Mummery J set out the correct approach to interpretation of double taxation agreements as laid down in Fothergill. He said ‘(1) It is necessary to look first for a clear meaning of the words used in the relevant article of the convention, bearing in . .
CitedRevenue and Customs v Smallwood and Another CA 8-Jul-2010
The taxpayers had set up trusts which they said were based in Mauritius allowing them to claim double taxation relief. The Revenue had issued closure notices, confirmed by the SPCT, but overturned by the High Court. The Revenue appealed, saying that . .
CitedAdams, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 11-May-2011
The three claimants had each been convicted of murders and served time. Their convictions had been reversed eventually, and they now appealed against the refusal of compensation for imprisonment, saying that there had been a miscarriage of justice. . .
CitedBogdanic v The Secretary of State for The Home Department QBD 29-Aug-2014
The claimant challenged fines imposed on him after three illegal immigrants were found to have hidden in his lorry in the immigration control zone at Dunkirk. The 1999 At was to have been amended by the 2002 Act, and the implementation was by the . .
CitedReyes and Another v Al-Malki and Another CA 5-Feb-2015
The claimants wished to make employment law claims alleging, inter alia, that they had suffered racial discrimination and harassment, and had been paid less than the national minimum wage aganst the respondents. They had been assessed as having been . .
CitedGard Marine and Energy Ltd and Another v China National Chartering Company Ltd and Another SC 10-May-2017
The dispute followed the grounding of a tanker the Ocean Victory. The ship was working outside of a safe port requirement in the charterparty agreement. The contract required the purchase of insurance against maritime war and protection and . .
CitedReyes v Al-Malki and Another SC 18-Oct-2017
The claimant alleged that she had been discrimated against in her work for the appellant, a member of the diplomatic staff at the Saudi Embassy in London. She now appealed against a decision that the respondent had diplomatic immunity.
Held: . .
CitedWarner v Scapa Flow Charters (Scotland) SC 17-Oct-2018
This appeal raises a question about the interpretation of article 16 of the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 1974 (‘the Athens Convention’) and its application to the Scots law of limitation of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 September 2021; Ref: scu.182178