His Honour Judge Platts reserved his judgement, meaning he will hand his decision down at a later date. This normally means that the ruling will be handed down in 2-3 weeks.
Here we explain why the test case of Goel & Trivedi v Ryanair is so important, and how it stands to affect delayed passengers in England and Wales:
What is Goel & Trivedi v Ryanair about?
Despite the Supreme Court ruling that passengers in England and Wales have SIX years to take a flight delay claim to Court, Ryanair has a clause in its Terms and Conditions stating that passengers only have TWO years.
Bott and Co filed Goel & Trivedi’s claims with the court five years and eight months after the flight delay – well within the six year limitation period.
But Ryanair are arguing that by accepting the airline’s Terms and Conditions when they bought their ticket, Goel & Trivedi gave up their right to claim after two years.
The case of Goel & Trivedi v Ryanair will look at whether Ryanair can deny them compensation based on this two year limitation argument.
Because this is a test case, all other Courts in England and Wales are likely to follow the decision – so the ruling stands to affect millions of passengers.
Bott and Co Flight Delay Lawyer Coby Benson said:
“We would always prefer that the court takes its time to consider the issues at hand and always welcome detailed judgments, as ‘reserved judgements’ usually are.
“The last twelve months have seen a series of landmark judgments obtained by Bott and Co on behalf of millions of passengers and this case is as important as any of those that precede it.
“We fully expect the airlines to continue to fight cases such as this one but we are prepared to hold them to account in each and every instance where the law says compensation is payable.
“We look forward to hearing the Judge’s decision so we can assess what our next steps will be.”
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Is the decision in Goel & Trivedi v Ryanair legally binding?
Not exactly, but it does stand to affect millions of passengers. There are a number of reasons for this:
1. It’s a test case
Which means it sets a precedent for other cases surrounding the same issue. All Courts in England and Wales are likely to follow the decision made in Goel & Trivedi because of this.
So the ruling will not only decide whether Goel & Trivedi will receive compensation, it will influence whether Ryanair are allowed to put a two year limitation period on all existing and future claims.
2. It’s an appeal hearing
That means that it’s a ‘step up’ from a County Court hearing. If either Bott and Co or Ryanair appeal the decision the Judge makes following this hearing, the case could go to the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court. If that happens, the decision will be legally binding.
3. It is the lead case on the two year limitation issue
This particular judgement comes from a Senior Judge at Manchester County Court (where a large number of flight delay claims go). The ruling will come from a higher Court than any other case that has given a judgement on this point, so the decision will be particularly persuasive.
What could happen if Ryanair win?
If Ryanair win, it’s likely that it will be able to place a time bar on all existing and future claims where court proceedings have not been issued within two years. This would affect approximately 2.26million Ryanair passengers (totalling approximately £610million compensation).
The vast majority of major airlines have a similar two year limitation period clause in their Terms and Conditions. So if Ryanair win, all other airlines could follow suit and put a two year cap on all flight delay claims.
What could happen if Bott and Co win?
If Bott and Co win on behalf of Goel & Trivedi, it is likely that no other Court in England and Wales will allow Ryanair (or any other airline) to run the two year limitation argument in future.
So Ryanair passengers who have wrongly been told they only have two years to claim should be able to resume their claim without having to face this argument again. This will be the third landmark ruling that Bott and Co has won on behalf of Goel & Trivedi and millions of other passengers since 2014.
Is the decision final?
Depending on the outcome, either Bott and Co or Ryanair could request permission to appeal the decision. If permission is refused, either side can request an ‘oral hearing’. If this is refused, then yes, the decision is final.
If permission to appeal is granted, there is potential for the case to go to the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court. If that happens, the ruling in Goel & Trivedi v Ryanair will become legally binding, and will be just as significant as Huzar and Dawson.
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