On 16th March 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Bott and Co, concluding a five-year battle to protect our fees and continue providing access to justice for consumers.
In 2016, we took Ryanair to court after they began paying compensation for flight delays directly to our clients, depriving us of our fees on cases where our involvement had clearly resulted in the successful recovery of compensation.
Unfortunately, The High Court and Court of Appeal previously dismissed our claim on the basis of a case dating back to 1917!
Needless to say, we remained steadfast in our fight and appealed to the Supreme Court.
Entrepreneurial Service Which People Find Useful
The case of Bott & Co Solicitors v Ryanair DAC was heard in May 2021 by Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Leggatt, Lord Burrows and Lady Rose and the majority agreed that Bott and Co’s services significantly contributed to the recovery of compensation.
Lady Arden noted that ‘‘the work of the solicitors in this case, while inconvenient to Ryanair, is entrepreneurial and clearly results in solicitors providing a service which people find useful.’’
In relation to Bott’s entrepreneurial approach to providing access to justice, Lord Briggs said ‘’The disproportionate cost of having to engage solicitors (or other legal professionals) for the pursuit of small or moderate claims is, if anything, the biggest single impediment to access to civil justice in England and Wales.’’
Lord Briggs said of Ryanair’s change to its process ‘’… [it] was probably motivated (at least in part) by a desire on the part of Ryanair to undermine the economic viability of Bott’s scheme, and thereby to exclude solicitors from becoming involved in flight delay cases at all.’’
Access to Justice Served
The victory is expected to set an example for what protection firms handling legal claims have over their fees.
Rosenblatt Solicitors, who represented Bott and Co said that the ruling will resonate across the legal profession and update the law concerning an equitable lien that has existed for more than 200 years.
They noted that this case reflects modern litigation and protects lawyers who are fighting for consumer rights against large organisations.
Lord Briggs said ‘’Any methods by which solicitors can assist in reducing that disproportionality, so as to make the pursuit of small and moderate claims a realistic choice for ordinary people, are in principle likely to serve the cause of access to justice’’
Ruling Allows Law to Catch Up
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co had previously said that the firm had provided an innovative, technology-based legal solution for hundreds of thousands of claimants, but this had effectively been used against them and that they had been deprived of costs to which they were entitled.
Speaking of the Supreme Court’s verdict, Mr Bott said: “We believe today’s ruling enables innovation to persist, with the law catching up with modern legal services.
It is reassuring that the courts acknowledge that access to justice is well served by our activities and that airlines (or any potential defendant) should not interfere in matters where the claimant has chosen legal representation.”
Bott and Co have successfully recovered compensation for over 225,000 passengers since 2013 and has been forced to issue court proceedings on over 10,000 (45%) of those through the small claims court after airlines have denied eligible passengers’ compensation for flight delays and cancellations.
Passengers can claim up to £520 in compensation if your flight has been delayed more than three hours or if your flight has been cancelled.
You can see if you’ve got a claim for compensation using our free and instant flight calculator.