Published: September 2016Contents
i) What are the hot topics?
The hot topics are culture and passenger rights.
ii) Tell us about any key legal developments – recent or pending – and their international impact.
Ongoing judicial extensions to EU Regulation 261/2004 give airlines greater liability for events outside their control – experts are increasingly warning of the financial pressures thereby being created particularly for smaller and less profitable operators, and the inevitable conflict between survival and safety.
iii) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for practitioners and clients?
For practitioners, the increasing standardisation of documentation impacts on solutions and the value added to the contractual documentation. Clients tend to avoid tailor-made solutions because of cost in a short-sighted approach, which is only apparent when disputes arise. In the liability arena, pressures from low-cost providers impact specialists with higher overheads. This particularly threatens established aviation practitioners whose skills are less valued by clients because of cost, threatening the very existence of the speciality. Pressures on insurers caused by premium decreases force economies for the short term in legal spend, which is likely to derogate from the availability of expertise in the long term. The pressures appear to be an inadvertent consequence of quantitative easing and cheap money flowing into the market looking for any return above zero.