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Holmes v Bangladesh Biman Corporation; HL 1989

References: [1989] AC 1112, [1989] 1 All ER 852, [1989] 2 WLR 481
Coram: Lord Bridge, Lord Griffiths
Mr Holmes was killed when the defendant’s aircraft in which he was a passenger crashed on a domestic flight in Bangladesh. As a domestic flight, it was not international carriage. The proper law of the contract was undoubtedly Bangladeshi law. Under Bangladeshi law the plaintiff’s damages would have been limited to £913. But Mr Holmes’s widow sued in the United Kingdom, relying on the 1967 Order and its application to ‘all carriage of persons . . performed by aircraft for reward.’ She argued these words included foreign domestic flights.
Held: The airline’s appeal succeeded. Lord Bridge asked what modes of transport were regulated by the Hague Rules and said: ‘In authorising the application of such rules, based on or adapted from the Hague Rules, to non-Convention carriage by air, what categories of such carriage may Parliament have reasonably had in contemplation as the proper subject matter of United Kingdom legislation?’
Lord Griffiths said: ‘I can see no reason why our Parliament should wish to legislate to provide for domestic air law in Bangladesh any more than it would wish to legislate on road traffic or railway safety in Bangladesh and I do not believe that it intended it to do so.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Disley v Levine (T/a Airtrak Levine Paragliding) CA (Bailii, Times 29-Aug-01, Gazette 31-Aug-01, [2001] EWCA Civ 1087, [2002] 1 WLR 785)
    The claimant sought damages from her instructor, after being injured as a passenger trainee pilot of a paraglider. He responded that she was out of time, since the regulations applied. His appeal was refused. The system of regulation did not mention . .
  • Cited – Laroche v Spirit of Adventure (UK) Ltd CA (Bailii, [2009] EWCA Civ 12, Times, [2009] WLR (D) 18, WLRD)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co Sal and Others HL (Bailii, [2009] UKHL 43, Times, [2009] 2 BCLC 382, [2009] Bus LR 1269, [2009] 4 All ER 847[2009] 4 All ER 847, [2009] 3 WLR 385)
    The claimant sought to enforce a judgment debt against a foreign resident company, and for this purpose to examine or have examined a director who lived abroad. The defendant said that the rules gave no such power and they did, the power was outside . .

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