Carriage by Air Act 1961

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1961 c. 27


Carriage by Air Act, 1961

(9 & 10 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 27

An Act to give effect to the Convention concerning international carriage by air known as ‘the Warsaw Convention as amended at The Hague, 1955’, to enable the rules contained in that Convention to be applied, with or without modification, in other cases and, in particular, to non-international carriage by air; and for connected purposes.

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Convention to have force of law.

1 Convention to have force of law.

(1) Subject to this section, the provisions of the Convention known as ‘the Warsaw Convention as amended at The Hague, 1955’ as set out in the Fist Schedule to this Act shall, so far as they relate to the rights and liabilities of carriers, carriers' servants and agents, passengers, consignors, consignees and other persons, and subject to the provisions of this Act, have the force of law in the United Kingdom in relation to any carriage by air to which the Convention applies, irrespective of the nationality of the aircraft performing that carriage, and the Carriage by Air Act, 1932 (which gives effect to the Warsaw Convention in its original form), shall cease to have effect.

(2) If there is any inconsistency between the text in English in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act and the text in French in Part II of that Schedule, the text in French shall prevail.

(3) This section shall come into force on such day as Her Majesty may by Order in Council certify to be the day on which the Convention comes into force as regards the United Kingdom.

(4) This section shall not apply so as to affect rights or liabilities arising out of an occurrence before the coming into force of this section.

S-2 Designation of High Contracting Parties.

2 Designation of High Contracting Parties.

(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council from time to time certify who are the High Contracting Parties to the Convention, in respect of what territories they are respectively parties and to what extent they have availed themselves of the provisions of the Additional Protocol at the end of the Convention as set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

(2) Paragraph (2) of Article 40a in the First Schedule to this Act shall not be read as extending references in that Schedule to the territory of a High Contracting Party (except such as are references to the territory of any State, whether a High Contracting Party or not) to include any territory in respect of which that High Contracting Party is not a party.

(3) An Order in Council under this section shall, except so far as it has been superseded by a subsequent Order, be conclusive evidence of the matters so certified.

(4) An Order in Council under this section may contain such transitional and other consequential provisions as appear to Her Majesty to be expedient.

S-3 Fatal accidents.

3 Fatal accidents.

References in section one of the Fatal Accidents Act, 1846, as it applies in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, to a wrongful act, neglect or default shall include references to any occurrence which gives rise to a liability under Article 17 in the First Schedule to this Act.

S-4 Limitation of liability.

4 Limitation of liability.

(1) It is hereby declared that the limitations on liability in Article 22 in the First Schedule to this Act apply whatever the nature of the proceedings by which liability may be enforced and that, in particular—

( a ) those limitations apply where proceedings are brought by a tortfeasor to obtain a contribution from another tortfeasor, and

( b ) the limitation for each passenger in paragraph (1) of the said Article 22 applies to the aggregate liability of the carrier in all proceedings which may be brought against him under the law of any part of the United Kingdom, together with any proceedings brought against him outside the United Kingdom.

(2) A court before which proceedings are brought to enforce a liability which is limited by the said Article 22 may at any stage of the proceedings make any such order as appears to the court to be just and equitable in view of the provisions of the said Article 22, and of any other proceedings which have been, or are likely to be, commenced in the United Kingdom or elsewhere to enforce the liability in whole or in part.

(3) Without prejudice to the last foregoing subsection, a court before which proceedings are brought to enforce a liability which is limited by the said Article 22 shall, where the liability is, or may be, partly enforceable in other proceedings in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, have jurisdiction to award an amount less than the court would have awarded if the limitation applied solely to the proceedings before the court, or to make any part of its award conditional on the result of any other proceedings.

(4) The Minister of Aviation may from time to time by order made by statutory instrument specify the respective amounts which for the purposes of the said Article 22, and in particular of paragraph (5) of that Article, are to be taken as equivalent to the sums expressed in francs which are mentioned in that Article.

(5) References in this section to the said Article 22 include, subject to any necessary modifications, references to that Article as applied by Article 25a .

S-5 Time for bringing proceedings.

5 Time for bringing proceedings.

(1) No action against a carriers servant or agent which arises out of damage to which the Convention relates shall, if he was acting within the scope of his employment, be brought after more than two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped.

(2) Article 29 in the First Schedule of this Act shall not be read as applying to any proceedings for contribution between tortfeasors, but no action shall be brought by a tortfeasor to obtain a contribution from a carrier in respect of a tort to which the said Article 29 applies after the expiration of two years from the time when judgment is obtained against the person seeking to obtain the contribution.

(3) The foregoing provisions of this section and the provisions of the said Article 29 shall have effect as if references in those provisions to an action included references to an arbitration; and subsections (3) and (4) of section twenty-seven of the Limitation Act, 1939, or, in Northern Ireland, subsections (2) and (3) of section seventy-two of the Statute of Limitations (Northern Ireland), 1958 (which determine the time at which an arbitration is deemed to be commenced), shall apply for the purposes of this subsection.

S-6 Contributory negligence.

6 Contributory negligence.

It is hereby declared that for the purposes of Article 21 in the First Schedule to this Act the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act, 1945 (including that Act as applied to Scotland), and section two of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland), 1948, are provisions of the law of the United Kingdom under which a court may exonerate the carrier wholly or partly from his liability.

S-7 Power to exclude aircraft in use for military purposes.

7 Power to exclude aircraft in use for military purposes.

(1) Her Majesty may from time to time by Order in Council direct that this section shall apply, or shall cease to apply, to the United Kingdom or any other State specified in the Order.

(2) The Convention as set out in the First Schedule to...

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