European Court of Justice: liability limit of Montreal Convention includes both material and non-material damage

The Montral Convention provides that the liability of a carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay of baggage is limited to the sum of 1000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for each passenger (a sum equivalent to approximately €1134.71)3, unless a passenger has made, at the time when the checked baggage was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires. In that case, as a rule a carrier is liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum.On 14 April 2008, Mr Walz brought an action against the airline Clickair claiming damages from it for the loss of checked baggage in the context of a flight from Barcelona (Spain) to Oporto (Portugal) operated by that company. In that action, Mr Walz claimed total damages of €3200: €2700 for the value of the lost baggage and €500 for non-material damage resulting from that loss. The Juzgado de lo Mercantil nº 4 de Barcelona (Commercial Court No 4, Barcelona, Spain), before which the proceedings were brought, asks whether the limit of air carriers’ liability set by the Montreal Convention in the case of loss of baggage includes both material and non-material damage or whether, on the contrary, material damage is subject to the limit of 1000 SDR, while, on the other hand, non-material damage is subject to a further limit of the same amount, so that the total combined limit for material and non-material damage is 2000 SDR.European Court of Justice on May 6, 2010 ruled that for the purposes of determining the limit of an air carrier’s liability for the damage resulting, inter alia, from the loss of baggage, the term ‘damage’ in the Montreal Convention must be interpreted as including both material and non-material damage.Source: ECJ press release 43/10Full text of judgement Walz v Clickair C-63/09 available here>>.

Leave a Comment