The European Union and the Montreal Convention: A New Analytical Framework

The European Union (EU)'s involvement in the regulation of international air travel has been met with near-universal opprobrium. There is a surprising degree of consensus amongst academic commentators that legislative and judicial developments have caused considerable harm by upsetting a pre-existing international bargain. At the same time, a change of direction in the near future appears highly unlikely. This apparent deadlock is addressed by a new analytical framework, building on the idea that the various challenges traditionally analyzed as problems for the Montreal Convention may in fact present significant opportunities for the future development of a unified regulatory regime. Seen thus, the EU serves as a laboratory for regulatory innovation, ensures high-level clarification and updates in line with economic and social developments as regards the meaning of key concepts, and - at long last - raised the prospect of an internationally unified jurisprudence on the interpretation of Convention norms. Three perceived challenges are analyzed thus, beginning with the provisions on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights as laid down in Regulation 261/2004. A subsequent section turns to the question of the Montreal regime's exclusivity. Analyzed through the proposed framework, the challenges are less severe than often thought; the resulting potential for conflict has already begun to lead to a search for a clearer and more principled settlement of the outer boundaries of the Convention's application. A final section then looks at the Court's recent assertion of jurisdiction over the substantive interpretation of Convention provisions. This approach will help to overcome one of the oldest problems inherent in the hybrid nature of the Montreal regime: the divergence in domestic courts' interpretation of a uniform text.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 381-411
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01487178
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 9 2013 4:47PM